A ROYSTON man is in training for the London Marathon to raise money for a cause close to his heart.

Oliver Dyson, a former Barnsley Chronicle reporter, will be supporting the cutting-edge Alzheimer’s research of a London professor – who also happens to be from Barnsley.

Oliver will be running further than he ever has before at the event on April 21, all to raise money for Alzheimer’s Research UK.

The 30-year-old, who now lives in London, has already surpassed his original fundraising goal and raised £2,335 for the charity.

“I run three times a week and have been doing so since November,” he said. “I wanted to give myself the longest amount of time possible to prepare – it’s been interesting, I’ve run more than I ever thought I could.

“My dad got diagnosed with Alzheimer’s recently – a number of charities support dementia and Alzheimer’s, but I chose this one because they’re focused on research for the future. It’s not going to help my dad, but it will help others.”

To support his fundraising efforts, Oliver’s mum Karen will be hosting a coffee morning at the Lisa Thornley School of Theatre Dance on the Maple Industrial Estate, near the town centre, on Friday.

On his JustGiving page, Oliver said: “The actual cause of dementia is still largely unknown, but the symptoms include memory issues, struggles with speech, emotional swings and more. Alzheimer’s is a disorder caused by dementia which is the gradual but irreparable loss of memory and thinking skills.

“One in two of us will be affected by dementia in our lifetime. In the UK, there’s 944,000 people living with the condition right now.

“But the reason I’ve chosen to support Alzheimer’s Research UK (again, after supporting them with the Richmond half marathon) in particular is they are focused on hope of a cure.

“Research is underway as we speak and progress is happening all the time. £23.6m was invested in it in 2022 alone. It might not be quick enough to help my dad but it can be quick enough to help future generations and hopefully put a stop to it altogether.

“I can’t help directly – I’m no scientist! – but I can take on 26 miles and a host of other challenges to try and raise some cash for those who can.

“In addition to running London, plans are in the works to take on some other challenges, including a Tough Mudder, and trying to tick off as many of London’s Park Runs as I can.”

At an event organised by Alzheimer’s Research UK, Oliver got a chance to meet one of the researchers whose work is helping dementia treatments, Selina Wray, who he recognised from his time reporting on the Chronicle’s Wombwell and Darfield edition.

She added: “There is an urgent need to increase funding in dementia research so that we can better understand the disease in order to develop new treatments.

“None of this would be possible without the amazing supporters who fundraise for the charity, we are so grateful to every one of them for taking on exceptional challenges to support our work.

“I was particularly excited to meet Oliver and it feels even more special to have our research supported by someone from my hometown. I’m looking forward to being out on marathon day to cheer Oli on.”

You can donate here: https://www.justgiving.com/fundraising/oliver-dyson1