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Wattisham-based soldier Captain Bill Sykes – who has this year been awarded an MBE for his charity work – is in training for the 2016 London Marathon, to raise money to support disabled children.

Bill will be taking part in the 26-mile challenge on Sunday 24 April wearing a full 20kg Army pack. He is running in support of Newlife Foundation for Disabled Children. Newlife is the UK’s largest charity funder of specialist equipment for children with disabilities and terminal illness.

He has previously helped raise £15,398 for Newlife, enabling 11 children to get the vital specialist equipment they need for everyday life – including a bed, three walking frames, two car seats and two buggies.

To get in tip-top shape for the London event, he is taking part in a series of half-marathons around the country. Bill said: “The half-marathons, in full Army kit, are good practice for the main event in April. My knees are starting to feel the effects of my fundraising running challenges, but I’ll keep on going as long as I can.”

This will be Bill’s second London Marathon challenge in aid of Newlife and he is aiming for a time of around five hours. He added: “Newlife does a lot of good work, supporting disabled children all around the UK. Because it operates its own business that underwrites core costs, I know that 100 per cent of everything I raise will be spent on specialist equipment to help more babies, children and young people. Knowing that makes it all worthwhile.”

In Suffolk alone, Newlife has helped 75 children with provision of equipment totalling £98,862.

Anyone who would like to support Bill’s fundraising efforts can contact him on 07810123467 or go to:

Right now, Newlife is working with a further six families in Suffolk with equipment needs totalling £2,358. To find out more about how the charity supports families in the county, go to: