Yorkshire Grandad to Run London Marathon for the NSPCC

A 63-year-old grandad from Pontefract is taking on a once in a lifetime challenge by running in this year’s 26.2-mile London Marathon to raise money for the NSPCC.

Neil Roberts, who is a driver for the Wakefield-based public sector procurement giant YPO, has set himself the gruelling task of completing one of the world’s most high-profile sporting events, having never competed in a marathon before.

Neil, a passionate Unison member and dedicated fundraiser for the NSPCC, wants to use the experience to raise the profile of the UK’s leading and largest children’s charity and hopes to do his bit to help end child abuse.

Speaking ahead of Sunday’s event – which will take in many of London’s best landmarks including Buckingham Palace, Tower Bridge and Canary Wharf – Neil said: 

“I’ve done lots of 5k and 10k runs in my time, but I’ve done nothing of this magnitude. I’ve done small scale events in Sheffield and Manchester, but I wanted to challenge myself and do some good for the NSPCC.

“I’ve got young grandkids and raised a family that has been fortunate in life, but not everybody is that lucky. I know there are children out there that need help and it’s important to me and the fantastic company I work for to do something. When things get hard on Sunday, I’ll remember who I’m doing it for, and it’ll get me over the line.”

Training for Sunday’s London Marathon hasn’t been plain sailing for Neil who has had just 7 weeks of training ahead of Sunday’s challenge having only just recovered from a knee injury.

Former semi-professional footballer Neil, who used to play for Pontefract Colliery FC, has decided to work through the pain barrier and is confident he’ll make everyone proud after recently completing a 21-mile training run in preparation for the big day.

He continued: 

“I didn’t want to let anyone down and I’ve been worried that I may not be fit in time. But I’ve had plenty of rest, I’ve stuck to my plan and have been doing longer and longer runs, and I’m good to go. I’m tapering down now to rest my legs and I’ll be eager to go on Sunday. I’ll be taking Monday off work!”

NSPCC Regional Corporate Partnerships Fundraiser Isabel McKenzie said

“We’re blown away by Neil’s desire and commitment to take on this epic challenge in aid of the NSPCC. We understand Neil is a very modest man and we know how hard he’s had to work to get himself ready for the marathon. People like Neil are the reason why the NSPCC exists. His efforts will be going a long way to help tackle child abuse and neglect throughout Yorkshire and the UK. We wish him all the very best for Sunday.”

YPO, who is a proud partner of the NSPCC, is one of the UK’s largest public sector buying organisations has 50 years’ experience in the education sector as well as working with local authorities, emergency services, charities and more across the nation. As an organisation YPO realises how important it is to keep children safe.

Simon Hill, Managing Director at YPO added: 

“The courage, strength and determination that Neil has shown on the lead up to running the London Marathon to raise money for the NSPCC this Sunday is admirable. The NSPCC partnership is close to everyone’s heart here at YPO and Neil is a prime example of showing the organisations dedication to making a difference for our future generations. We’re beyond proud of Neil, and we wish him all of the best of luck for the marathon.”

To support Neil and raise vital funds for the NSPCC, visit his page here:


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