FUNDRAISER Bill Doody set off from the NSPCC Centre in Old Town yesterday as part of his challenge to run seven marathons in seven days for the charity.

The 46-year-old has taken on the 183-mile challenge to raise money for the NSPCC and The Masonic Samaritan Fund – and to finally reduce his beer belly.

The dad of six said: “It started when I turned about 40 and I was looking at my youngest two who were four and seven at the time and thinking that I want to get healthy to be able to be here as they grow older and to enjoy them and for them to enjoy me.

“So in 2012 I ran the London Marathon and I raised money for the NSPCC then but that wasn’t enough, I needed a bigger challenge.

“So I thought about doing this, seven marathons in seven days.”

On Monday Bill, a project support and office manager based in Toulouse, France, set out from Bristol, where he used to live, to Chippenham and yesterday he ran from Swindon to the The Halfway Inn in Berkshire. Today he will travel on to Reading, and on Thursday on to Farnborough in Hampshire, and from Farnborough to Leatherhead on Friday.

On Saturday he will continue on to London before completing the London marathon on Sunday.

The NSPCC is a charity particularly close to Bill’s heart after his family broke up and he went into care.

He said: “When I was about 12 I went into care. My family life broke down and I was an ‘uncontrollable child’ – I think that’s they called me.

“Looking back I realised how many good people there were that had helped me through.

“The work the NSPCC do to support youngsters is fantastic, and if the money I raise can help out a youngster today who might be in the same place I was, then that’s great.”

Bill, who is being followed by his son Crieg Redman in the support car during the challenge, hopes to raise £14,000.

Jeanette Chipping, the team manager at the centre in Victoria Road, said: “It’s fantastic that he’s doing what he’s doing. It’s brilliant and it’s also raising awareness of the NSPCC and I know it’s only down to people like Bill that we can keep up the work.

“We don’t have much Government funding and over 80 per cent of our funding comes from donations, so it’s absolutely vital that we have people like Bill.

“In Swindon we deliver a number of services to support children and their families, but there are plenty of other services which need the help too.”

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