Sprowston vicar and guide dog to run marathon for charity

Running a marathon is an enormous challenge at the best of times but a Sprowston vicar is taking to the hills and covering the 26.2 mile distance with his guide dog for company.

Despite being registered blind, the Reverend Canon Simon Stokes, vicar at St Cuthbert's Church in Wroxham Road, Sprowston, will take part in the Beachy Head marathon on Saturday, October 22, with his two sons and guide dog, Tigger.

Beachy Head is one of the biggest off-road marathons in the country.

Canon Stokes, who lives at the Vicarage in Wroxham Road, said: 'Me and my two boys, James, 20, and Matthew, 18, and Tigger did it last year. My wife, Christine, and daughter, Mary, 15, travelled in the rescue vehicle. It was extremely hard work and we couldn't run down the hills because they were too uneven - it was like fell running.

'I ran with my sister, Philippa, who lives in London last year. When we crossed the finish line, Tigger was given a medal too.'

Canon Stokes and his seven-year-old labrador Tigger completed it in eight hours while James and Matthew ran together and finished it in five hours.

He will be raising money for the Bowthorpe Community Trust Workshop. The trust runs St Michael's workshop which teaches skills to people with physical or learning disabilities and unemployed people. Canon Stokes said the centre is currently seeking a full or part-time manager. Last year he managed to raise �600.

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He added: 'I would like to equal the �600 we raised last year. I'm not too nervous about it at the moment. Sometimes things are so big, you have to keep calm.'

He has been out running with Tigger in preparation for the challenge but admitted he had not had much time to train after moving to Sprowston from Bowthorpe Church in September.

*To donate and support Canon Stokes, please call 01603 426492 or email vicar@sprowston.org.uk

*Are you doing something amazing for charity? Contact local reporter Lucy Wright on 01603 772495 or email lucy.wright@archant.co.uk