Alan banking on marathon cash

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A SCARBOROUGH man is gearing up to run the London Marathon in aid of a local charity which has supported him over the years.

Alan Banks, who is partially sighted, is raising money for the Scarborough Blind and Partially Sighted Society in Dean Road.

The 41-year-old father of four is a regular runner and has done 10K races before, but the event on April 17 will be his first marathon.

Mr Banks, of Cross Lane, who works as a nursing assistant, said: “I’ve always wanted to do it, but it’s been a case of finding the time what with work and family commitments.

“I’m really looking forward to it and want to raise as much as possible. If everyone in Scarborough aged 16 to 60 gave £5 I’d have £75,000 for the charity, which has been going 75 years, so it would be very fitting!”

He added that training had been going well, apart from when a dog ran up to him on Marine Drive before Christmas and knocked him over.

Mr Banks has albinism and can experience some difficulties with his vision in bright sunlight, but has not stopped him enjoying sport and running football teams in the junior league.

He will be travelling to London for the marathon with his wife Sarah, while his four sons will be glued to the TV watching the event at home.

Mr Banks said as well as raising money for the charity, he also wants to raise awareness about the work they do to support blind and partially sighted people of all ages.

He said: “The centre has helped me a lot. There are lots of group sessions here, a gym and the IT suite has helped me with projects for work.

“Nobody knows when they might end up needing a place like this themselves.”

Viv Wright, the society’s chief officer, said: “I think what Alan is doing is fantastic and considering his sight disability it makes it even more commendable.

“We don’t get any statutory funding from anybody so this is really important to us.

“The centre costs £100,000 a year to run and we want to be able to offer help to more and more people.”

Mr Banks is looking for a sponsor to print up his race T-shirt and any other businesses who would like to support him in return for having their name featured.

Anyone who would like to make a donation, however large or small, is asked to call Scarborough Blind and Partially Sighted Society on (01723) 354417, call into the centre at 181-183 Dean Road or their charity shop at 66 Falsgrave Road, or go to www.scarboroughblindsociety.co.uk