Hoping 13 is the lucky number helping Dogs for the Disabled

Iain Wilson of Southam 2000 Rotary club running one of his 12 half marathons
Iain Wilson of Southam 2000 Rotary club running one of his 12 half marathons

A man who set himself the task of running 12 half marathons in 12 months has decided to go for the baker’s dozen.

Iain Wilson will run the 13th in his bid to raise at least £5,000 for Dogs for the Disabled.

The 56-year-old already knew about the help the charity gives though his wife Debbie when she worked for it when it was based in Ryton.

And when he became president of Southam 2000 Rotary Club he decided to have it as his fundraising cause during his year of office.

Dogs for the Disabled gave a presentation at a Rotary district conference when an adult and child with dogs attended. Iain, of Warwick Road, Southam, said: “Seeing them with the dogs brought home the impact of the work the charity does.

“I think in particular it was the disabled child. It was not just the child but also the impact on the rest of the family.”

Dogs for the Disabled, which was founded in Kenilworth in 1988, also provides dogs to families who have a child with autism.

A dog from the charity, which is now based in Banbury, can provide a calming focus for the child.

“I was at an open day in Banbury and a woman with a child on the autistic spectrum spoke,” said Iain.

“She said having a dog had changed her son’s life and the family’s for the better.

“The mother said having the dog had enabled her to go shopping for the first time in years because before that the child would throw a tantrum while they were out.”

Iain works for Microsoft and travels throughout Europe for the company in a senior supervisory role in charge of a team of project managers.

He said: “Microsoft has been good enough to say whatever I raise will be match funded by the company.

“At the moment it is about £2,100, a little bit short of the target but hopefully with a few more emails and a bit more publicity, I will get there.”

Ian is no stranger to fundraising through his membership of Rotary and Round Table.

The latest project will have seen him raise at least £15,000 in the last three years.

He will take a break from sponsored running after his 13th half marathon, saying: “I’ll take a little rest from fundraising at the 13th but will still keep up the training, which is about 20 miles a week.”

Ian runs on Sunday in Sheffield, followed by the 13th in Great Malvern on June 23.

His half marathons have included Warwick, Henley, Stratford and in Alicante, Spain, while on holiday, and often in partnership with his wife.

His fundraising page is https://mydonate.bt.com/events/twelvehalves

Dogs for the Disabled was founded by Frances Hay, of Lower Ladyes Hill.

She had a leg amputated because of cancer and her training of pet dog Kim to help with tasks inspired her to found it.

Around 600 dogs are trained to carry out tasks such as opening and closing doors, helping people undress
and emptying washing machines.