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Father-of four takes on 70 mile ultra marathon for charity after daughter’s care

Posted on - 30th June, 2024 - 12:00pm | Author - | Posted in - Charities, Health, Longton & New Longton, Preston News
Neil crosses the finish line at 2.30am

A man from Longton undertook a mammoth endurance test to raise funds for a charity close to his heart.

Neil Collinson took on The Wall – a 70-mile cross country ultra marathon from Carlisle Castle to Gateshead’s Millennium Bridge. He raised almost £400 for Lancashire Teaching Hospital Charity’s Children’s Fund, as thanks for the treatment his daughter received during her time on the children’s ward.

Neil said: “I set out at 6-40 am with the aim of finishing before midnight but it took me 20 hours so it was 2-30 am when I crossed the finishing line. 

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“Everything had been going according to plan until around the 50 miles mark when I had to start using my trekking poles because of badly blistered feet, which made it increasingly difficult to walk let alone run.”

His eight-year-old daughter, Maisie, was his inspiration to take on The Wall, following her stay on the Children’s Ward at the Royal Preston Hospital earlier this year after being diagnosed with pneumonia and sepsis.

Neil said: “The staff did everything they could to make Maisie and their other young patients as comfortable as possible. They worked so hard I wanted to show my thanks. Maisie was diagnosed with viral induced asthma as a toddler so it wasn’t her first time on the ward.”

Neil, from Longton, took up marathoning only this year. Having turned 50 in April, he ran a half marathon in Blackpool that month, debuting at the Windermere Marathon in May for his first ever marathon and finally The Wall, just last weekend, to prove to himself age is nothing but a number.

The personal trainer at Much Hoole’s Saolfit gym, was one of about 1,000 participants in The Wall, which in parts follows Hadrian’s Wall and climbs 3,460ft. His wife Jo was there every step of the way for support, meeting him at each of the event’s five pit stops with fresh kit, food and drink.

He said: “Despite the blisters, I enjoyed it and plan to do more ultras in the future.”

The Children’s Fund supports improvements to the children’s ward at the Royal Preston Hospital and all other children’s facilities managed by Lancashire Teaching Hospitals NHS Foundation Trust. They fund upgrades to medical devices, services and equipment that go beyond usual NHS resources. It also funded the 2023 refurbishment of the Children’s Ward parents’ room.

For more information, to get involved or to make a donation, visit www.lthcharity.org.uk/childrensappeal.

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