THE 82-year old father of a former soap star ran 13.1 miles to raise money for the British Heart Foundation in memory of his late grandson.
John Usher, from Prestatyn – whose actor son, Paul Usher, played Barry Grant in the Liverpool-based former C4 soap, Brookside – ran the Anglesey Half Marathon in memory of Paul’s son, James, who died in August 2014 as a result of cardiomyopathy.
Running alongside John was James’s cousin, Matt Wilson, from Old Colwyn, who will be running the London Marathon later this year.
John, an avid runner, completed the half-marathon in two hours 47 minutes, winning the over-80s category, and Matt in two hours 18 minutes.
John said: “We decided to run the Anglesey Half Marathon as it is nice and flat, so it will help Matt gain experience for running the London marathon.
“The funds we raise will go towards Matt’s London Marathon funding for the British Heart Foundation – this way he can get training and raise money at the same time.”
Matt said: “The half-marathon was the first competitive run I have ever taken part in.
“We are aiming to raise £5,000 for the British Heart Foundation and so far we have raised £2,500.
“Running with John – who was James’ grandfather but just like a grandfather to me and my brothers when we growing up as well – was a very fun experience.
“Even though I had done a lot of training, it was great to have someone who knew what was involved there with me.
“We had a great time, and John may have been the first competitor to take part over the age of 80 as they didn’t previously have a category for over-80s.
“We have been very lucky to have been supported by so many different people and organisations to get to where we are in our fundraising efforts, which means so much to us as its a cause that has effected all of us very deeply.”
Matt said both Ysgol T Gwynn Jones and Ysgol Hen Golwyn in in Old Colwyn, which both heand James attended – and two of James’s children currently attend – held a non-uniform day, which raised £250.
He added: “As well as these, John has very kindly donated £100, which will be used as prizes for four ‘guess the time’ competitions, with each winner getting £25 for guessing the closest time.”
Anyone who would like to sponsor Matt in his fundraising efforts for the British Heart Foundation can do so online at www.justgiving.com/fundraising/matthew-wilson2017.