A Dalbeattie man is set to put his body through “torture” to raise money for a charity close to his heart.

Norman Neilson will run 107 miles along the Southern Upland Way from Dalry to Galashiels next month.

And in doing so he hopes to raise money for Cancer Research UK after losing brother David to lung cancer last year.

Norman, who recently retired as a butcher after 45 years, said: “He was diagnosed with COPD about seven years ago but he was still able to work before but for the last few years it was just me and another employee.

“He was diagnosed with cancer last year but the COPD would have got him eventually, it was like breathing through a straw.

“I wasn’t sure whether to do it for COPD or cancer. A lot more people in the area have been affected by COPD than you realise.

“Everyone has been affected by cancer.

“A few members of my family have had it but this was the first one that died.

Norman Neilson and his brother David, who died from cancer in 2020.
Norman Neilson and his brother David, who died from cancer in 2020.

“The sooner there is a cure the better but I don’t know if it will be in my lifetime.”

Norman, who will chalk up 32 years as a retained firefighter in October, has raised a fortune for various charities with his running exploits over the years, which have included twice completing the GB Ultras Race Across Scotland running all 215 miles of the Southern Upland Way from Portpatrick to Cockburnspath.

This time around he’s tackling the Ultra Scotland 100 mile, which begins on October 23.

Norman said: “It’s more than 13,000 feet of ascent. It starts at 6am.

“I hope to be in Beattock by about 7pm, then I’ll need a head torch for running over the mountains in the dark.

“I’m going to put my body through torture but knowing it will help someone will keep me going. Anything people can donate helps.

“I’m going to do a 50 mile race this weekend with 9,000 feet of ascent from Perth to Stirling to harden myself up for it.”

Norman can be sponsored at Neilson Brothers Butchers in Dalbeattie or by heading to his house at 37 Church Crescent.

And donations can also be made online through https://www.justgiving.com/fundraising/norman-neilson4