A councillor who once tipped the scales at nearly 30 stone is preparing to run his first London Marathon.

Type=image;ImageID=14714;ImageClass=left;ImageTitle=Lisa Eardly, Cllr Paul Sweet and Martha Cummings;TitleClass=strong;

Councillor Paul Sweet, the City of Wolverhampton Council's Cabinet Member for Public Health and Wellbeing, will be taking part in the 26.2 mile race in April to raise hundreds of pounds for Sense, the national disability charity which supports people with complex communication needs.

He said: "My late brother John was hampered by being blind in one eye for most of his life, and his passing made me look for a charity that helps people with more complex needs which I could support.

"My own journey has been a rollercoaster to say the least. I was once approaching nearly 30 stone and had many health problems. I went up and down with my weight before being asked to take part in the City of Wolverhampton Council's Call to Action in 2014 to tackle high levels of obesity in the City.

"Inspired by this, I managed to lose over 8 stone and went onto complete several 10ks and 2 half marathons - but I've always wanted to do a full one."

Councillor Sweet's preparations for the London Marathon were hampered by a fractured hip and hernia surgery last year, during which time he gained some 20kgs as he was unable to run. But he vowed: "I am not going to let this setback define me and I am gently building up the miles and hoping to stay fit and well as the big day approaches.

"I've set a target of £1,500 for Sense, but am hoping to raise as much as I possibly can."

Joining Councillor Sweet in this year's London Marathon - and also supporting Sense - is Martha Cummings, the council's Voluntary Sector Co-ordinator. She is also a member of Wolverhampton and Bilston Athletics Club and Event Director at Wednesfield Junior parkrun.

She said: "I started running 3 years ago to lose a little weight and to get ready for the London Marathon which is my biggest challenge on my bucket list.

"I'm now lighter, fitter and in much better shape than when I started running, and have completed 3, 10ks and 6 half marathons including the Great North Run and Birmingham Marathon - all to get me to London.

"There are so many good causes out there that are doing incredible work for people with very challenging lives, and I've used my efforts to raise money for different charities, helping a variety of people and causes.

"Sense is an amazing charity, and thanks to the generosity of family, friends and strangers I am already two thirds of the way to raising £1,500 to help offer a life changing opportunity to someone who is deafblind or has complex needs. I would be incredibly grateful for any further support to help me to reach my target."

Accompanying the duo at the London Marathon on Sunday 22 April will be Lisa Eardly, a nurse at Newbridge Surgery, Event Director of Wolverhampton parkrun and fellow member of Wolverhampton and Bilston Athletics Club.

She said: "Paul, Martha and I volunteer and run together at Wolverhampton parkrun at West Park every Saturday morning.

"This is my first London Marathon and I'll be celebrating my 50th birthday a couple of weeks later.

"I'm fundraising for Kwale eye hospital in Kenya, as I've been fortunate to have 3 stints nursing voluntarily in Kenya."

Sense supports people with complex communication needs to be understood, connected and valued. It began, and continues, to support people who are deafblind. Today, it also supports a wide range of people with complex communication needs. To find out more, please visit Type=links;Linkid=10155;Title=Sense;Target=_blank;.

To support Councillor Sweet, please visit Type=links;Linkid=10156;Title=Just Giving Fundraising - Paul Sweet;Target=_blank;, and to donate to Martha's appeal, log on to Type=links;Linkid=10157;Title=Just Giving Fundraising - Martha Cummings;Target=_blank;.

To help Lisa fundraise for Kwale eye hospital and Eyes for East Africa, please donate via Type=links;Linkid=10158;Title=My Donate - Lisa Eardly;Target=_blank;.

  • released: Monday 26 February, 2018