AN 81-year-old is preparing to walk his seventh Yorkshire Marathon on Sunday - to support three different charities.

Derek Utley has been taking part in the Yorkshire Marathon since 2014. He has always supported the same three cancer charities - Macmillan Cancer Support, Cancer Research UK and St Leonard's - and has set himself a target of raising £1,500 to be split between them this year.

Derek, from Holtby near York, said: “Like many people I’ve lost friends and family to cancer and I’ve seen the great work of these charities firsthand - and I’m proud to have supported them over all these years.”

Derek organises York Health Walks around Dunnington, a weekly group of around 20 people, an he said he is passionate about the mental and physical health benefits of walking.

York Press: Previous Yorkshire Marathon runners pass York Minster on the route Picture: David Harrison

He plans to walk at a pace of four miles per hour in this year’s Yorkshire Marathon tomorrow (October 17), arriving at his home village at mile 20.

Derek added: “I’m always in training with my weekly walks, but I know the marathon will be hard work and when I reach the finish line it will be a massive relief.

“I would encourage anyone to give it a go, no matter what your age, the support on the day from the crowds and the elation you feel will carry you over the finish line.”

Adele Burrough, Macmillan’s fundraising manager, said that the charity can only continue its vital work due to donations from the efforts of people like Derek.

“After seven years we can’t thank Derek enough. It’s no exaggeration to say Macmillan and people with cancer have never needed his help more than they do right now,” Adele went on to say.

Derek’s fundraising Virgin Money Giving page can be accessed at: