Neil hits “The Wall” for Children’s Fund

Father-of four Neil Collinson, of Longton, hit The Wall – a 70 mile so named cross country ultra marathon from Carlisle Castle to Gateshead’s Millennium Bridge – to raise almost £400 for Lancashire Teaching Hospital Charity’s Children’s Fund in thanks for treatment given to his daughter.

Neil only took up marathoning this year. Having turned 50 in April, he ran a half marathon in Blackpool that month, progressing to the Windermere Marathon last month and The Wall just last weekend to prove to himself age was just a number!

Neil said: “I set out at 6-40 am with the aim of finishing before midnight but it took me 20 hours so it was 2-30 am when I crossed the finishing line. Everything had been going according to plan until around the 50 miles mark when I had to start using my trekking poles because of badly blistered feet, which made it increasingly difficult to walk let alone run.”

Neil, who works as a personal trainer and coach at Much Hoole’s Saolfit gym, was one of about 1,000 participants in The Wall, which in parts follows Hadrian’s Wall and climbs 3,460ft. Neil continued: “Despite the blisters, I enjoyed it and plan to do more ultras in the future. My fitness journey and journey to becoming a personal trainer began around 10 years ago when I started to have blinding headaches caused by high blood pressure, which was brought on by my increasing weight, poor diet and lack of regular exercise.

“I began working with a personal trainer and he inspired me to train to become a personal trainer, which I did six years ago.”

Spurring Neil on during The Wall was wife Jo, who met him at each of the event’s five pit stops with fresh kit and additional food and drink. He was also inspired by second youngest daughter Maisie (eight), who spent time on the Children’s Ward at the Royal Preston Hospital earlier this year with pneumonia and sepsis.

Neil added: “The staff did everything they could to make Maisie and their other young patients as comfortable as possible. They worked so hard I wanted to show my thanks. Maisie was diagnosed with viral induced asthma as a toddler so it wasn’t her first time on the ward.”

The Children’s Fund supports improvements to children’s in and outpatients at the Royal Preston Hospital and also, at all other children’s facilities managed by Lancashire Teaching Hospitals NHS Foundation Trust.

It funds upgrades to medical devices that go beyond usual NHS resources and distraction tools such as ceiling panels and play equipment. It also paid for the 2023 refurbishment of the Children’s Ward parents’ room. To find out more, become involved or make a donation, go to www.lthcharity.org.uk/childrensappeal