Former Burnley mayor set to tackle London Marathon for fourth time at the age of 66

A former Mayor of Burnley is looking forward to celebrating his 66th birthday... running the London Marathon!

Wednesday, 31st March 2021, 7:00 am

Coun. Charlie Briggs will take part in the challenge on October 3rd, two days after his birthday.

This is the fourth time he has run the marathon, which holds a world record as being the largest fund raising event in the world, and he had to admit he was 'astounded' when he was accepted to take part.

"I entered it thinking it was one last chance but, because of my age, I did not expect to be accepted, " said Charlie who lives in Lowerhouse, Burnley.

Charlie Briggs gets in training for the London Marathon with the help of Burnley youngsters (left to right) Naomi Rochester, Sadie Phillipson, Jamie Woods ,Ruby Jephcott and Amelia Fenemore

A veteran runner, Charlie last ran in the London Marathon in 2003 and before that 2000 and 1986.

Over the years he has competed in a number of half marathons and several 10k runs but the London Marathon, which attracts athletes from all over the world, is perhaps the ultimate challenge.

Charlie, who is a member of the Burnley and Padiham Independent Party, added: "With a few months to go before the marathon I am pacing myself in the build up to it and running three or four miles a day."

And the grandfather to three, who has two sons and a daughter, is running for two causes close to his heart, Pendleside Hospice and the BK's Heroes charity.Charlie chose the hospice in memory of former Burnley councillor and devoted champion of the homeless, Paula Riley, who died suddenly earlier this year at the age of 70.

Charlie said: "I first met Paula 14 years ago and she gave me a lot of help and support.

"She was a lovely lady and I was heartbroken when she died."

Paula had represented the Lanehead ward in Burnley on the council and she was due to stand for election in May for the Burnley and Padiham Independent Party.

She was also one of the recipients of the Mayor s Medal from Burnley Mayor Coun. Wajid Khan for making food and turning up to dish it out every week, without fail, whatever the weather in Burnley town centre.

Charlie is raising money for Pendleside Hospice in memory of well known former Burnley councillor and champion of the homeless Paula Riley

Charlie began fundraising for BK's Heroes when he was Mayor in 2019 and it all happened quite by chance.

He overheard the trustees, Dave and Fiona King, talking about the charity in a supermarket so he approached the couple and asked if he could take it on board durring his year in office

The charity was originally set up by the couple's son Ben, an inspirational young man who suffered with kidney problems from the age of five. He dreamed of raising £10,000 each for brain and kidney disease charities but sadly, only managed to get to half that total before his death in 2016, aged just 27.

His parents took on the mantle of the charity and went on to raise the staggering total of £156,000 thanks to generous donations from charity 'heroes' and also fund raising events including an annual masquerade ball.

Charlie said he was 'astounded' when he found out he had been accepted to take part in the London Marathon which will be his fourth one