Trio of Wiltshire runners in the London Marathon set to raise cash for different charities

WITH the London Marathon just a week away (Sunday, April 28), training is heating up for Bradford on Avon resident John Chapman as he gets ready to run in a Poppy Factory T-shirt.

The 61-year-old father of three has completed the London Marathon before, but this is his first year running for The Poppy Factory.

So far, Mr Chapman, who lives at the Norden, Bradford on Avon, has raised £1,470 towards his £2,500 target for The Poppy Factory, which supports veterans with physical and mental health conditions back into work.

Mr Chapman says he was inspired after becoming aware of the needs of veterans in and around his home town.

He said: “I’m passionate about raising awareness for the importance of mental health, particularly as it often affects our veterans.

“It’s taken a really long time for Britain to switch on to the fact that it’s just as important as physical health.

“In my town is a homeless man who is ex-Forces. He has post-traumatic stress disorder from his time in Afghanistan.

“He disappeared for a few months and I haven’t seen him to speak to, but I want to tell him I am running for The Poppy Factory and that help is out there if he wants it.”

Mr Chapman is training to be a volunteer for Citizens Advice and previously was a stay-at-home dad for 15 years after working at Nationwide for 21 years.

He only started running recently and warmed up for the London Marathon by running the Bath Half Marathon on March 17.

“After leaving school, I didn’t do any exercise until I reached the age of 50. I had an unhealthy lifestyle, and it hit me that I probably wouldn’t live for another 50 years if I didn’t change my ways.

“I started running about 10 years ago and really enjoyed it. The London Marathon is a goal that I’ve had in the back of my mind all my life.

“Running has given me a completely new lease of life and is perfect for improving mental health.

“As I came to running late in comparison to others, I’ve got fresh knees and I feel so energised. While I’m running I feel like a 20-year-old but then I look in the mirror, and I remember I’m actually 61.”

Deirdre Mills, Chief Executive of The Poppy Factory, said: “We are delighted John is running the London Marathon in aid of The Poppy Factory. All the very best of luck to John for the big day.”

You can keep up to date with John’s training and make a donation to help him reach his fundraising target through



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