By Steve Hayes 14/03 Updated: 15/03 10:28
A FATHER from Stratford has been inspired into a marathon effort by his autistic son.
Darren Oliver is pulling out all the stops in a bid to raise thousands for The National Autistic Society including running this year's London Marathon.
Darren, whose 10-year-old son, Ryan, has the condition, chose the charity after receiving support from it since Ryan was diagnosed at the age of three.
He has already raised a fantastic £2,800 for the charity and has lots of tricks up his sleeve to reach his ambitious fundraising target of £4,000.
Darren, who works at Listers, said: "My colleagues helped me organise an NAS afternoon, with a cake sale and a huge tombola.
"I was blown away by their support and we raised a fantastic £2,000 on the day.
"I've also got a quiz night planned at my local pub, The Ferry Inn in Alveston, and fantastic support from Stratford Hockey Club, who are hosting a 'Purple Ball', a fundraising ball for the local community.
"I'm really relishing the chance to use my marathon to tell people about autism. Ryan is starting to realise he is different from a lot of other children his age and awareness is the key to helping him overcome that.
"Training for the marathon has transformed my life - at first, I couldn't run more than three miles, now I'm managing 20. I can't wait to bring home marathon glory for Ryan and the whole family."
Rebecca Bohling, head of fundraising for The NAS, said: "Darren is truly inspirational and shows us that it really is possible to create a better world for people affected by autism. We can't wait to cheer Darren and the rest of our London Marathon team to success on the day!"
'Purple Ball', the next event in Darren's fundraising bonanza, is being hosted by Stratford Hockey Club on March 31 at Alveston Pastures, Loxley Road, Stratford.
The evening will feature dinner, live music, a disco and an auction.
Anyone interested in supporting the event should contact Darren, by emailing firstname.lastname@example.org.
Visit www.justgiving.com/Darren-Oliver for more information or to sponsor Darren.
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