A fitness fanatic aged 75, who ran 75 marathons in 75 consecutive days has been recognised with a national honour for his amazing achievement.
Ray Matthews, of Maltby in Rotherham, was among the exceptional individuals who won a British Citizen Award for his services to the community at the British Citizen Awards.
The grandfather-of-three dedicated two years of training - which included the London Marathon, New York Marathon, the 100K Sahara Desert Ultra run, and running the same Rotherham Marathon twice in one evening - before starting the challenge on his 75th birthday in June last year.
He had a target to raise £75, 000 and has so far collected £30, 000 for Newman School in Rotherham which will go towards purchasing much-needed special interactive outdoor equipment, including wheelchair swings and access roundabouts.
The community special school offers a specialist range of provision to support children and young people with physical disabilities, medical needs and complex learning needs.
Ray said: “When we found out that the cost of the equipment for the school was £75,000, and I was about to mark my 75th birthday, it seemed fitting to run 75 marathons in 75 days. I wanted to raise the money for Newman because it is such an amazing school, I often visit and always come out in tears as I am so moved.
“The staff and carers are all angels, and I want to do everything I can do make their lives easier. If I can do this, then I have achieved more than anyone could hope to achieve in their lifetime.”
Ray completed his final marathon on September 14 last year and ran the last 100 yards into the schools grounds while being greeted by the pupils and teachers. He is one of 29 medallists who are due to pick up their medals at a prestigious ceremony at the Palace of Westminister on January 26.
Ray was nominated for his award by friend David Greenfield, who said Ray has “maintained his passion, courage and dedication” throughout the challenge.