Wolverhampton MP Stuart Anderson is already a regular volunteer with Good Shepherd Services – now he is preparing go that extra 26 miles by taking part in the London Marathon to raise funds for the charity.
The 43-year-old, who won the Wolverhampton South West seat for the Conservative party at December’s General Election, will be taking part in his first ever Marathon to support the local charity, which recently moved to a new premises opposite Molineux on Waterloo Road.
But, as Stuart explains, having spent time working in the Army after leaving school, including being shot in the foot during a training exercise, he should hopefully have a good level of fitness from which to take on the Marathon.
“I was told when I was shot that I would never be able to run again, so I was determined to prove people wrong,” says Stuart.
“I try and run every morning at half past five which can be quite difficult if you have been voting in Parliament at 11pm the night before.
“But I use it as my thinking time for the day ahead and it’s pretty much the only time I can have that clear head space during the day.
“I haven’t done a marathon before but have done extreme distances, including a 24-hour race and other long distances but at a far more steadier pace than a marathon.
“And I now feel very fortunate to have this opportunity to take part in the London Marathon.
“I did have to think about it because I am just starting out as an MP, we have only just set up our office and have so much on, and I know how dedicated you need to be with all the training.
“I certainly don’t want to be that MP who doesn’t complete the London Marathon – especially with my background!”
Stuart is motivated by the many experiences he has had volunteering at the Good Shepherd, a long-running charity which provides food and other services to individuals and families living in crisis.
He also took part in the first ever Molineux Sleepout last November, part of a link-up between the Good Shepherd and Wolves Foundation which raised over £50,000 to be shared between the two charities.
“I have been volunteering and helping serving meals here for the last year or so, I took part in the Molineux Sleepout last November, and this is a charity that is very close to my heart,” Stuart explains.
“I am fortunate to have a platform to raise awareness of the Good Shepherd and have already managed on two occasions in the House of Commons to talk about all the good work that goes on here.
“The rough sleeping figures have come down in two successive years, which is good news, but they are still too high, and to have even one person on the street is one too much.
“We are fortunate in Wolverhampton that there are so many different organisations involved in identifying people with a genuine need, putting facilities in place to help them and then working it through to eventually finding them accommodation and work, so they become self-sufficient.
“In taking on the London Marathon, hopefully I can continue to raise awareness and funds for the Good Shepherd and help what I see as a long-term project to make sure we look after some of the most vulnerable people in the city.”
Click here to visit Stuart’s fundraising page and add a donation for the Good Shepherd.