A BUSINESSMAN and star of TV’s Secret Millionaire is to run the London Marathon for a national disability charity.
Rob Lloyd is in full training for the challenge in aid of Sense and has organised a major fundraising event to be held at The Midland Hotel in Manchester on April 11.
Former Manchester United and England footballer Lee Sharpe is set to headline alongside award-winning comedian John Gillan and MC Paul Booth, who will host a memorabilia auction, dinner and raffle on the night.
Among the top prizes are signed gloves and photos of unbeaten heavyweight superstars Tyson Fury and Anthony Joshua, and items from other sporting icons, notably Liverpool FC striker Mo Salah and Formula One world champion, Lewis Hamilton.
Now living in Rhos-on-Sea, the former Chester entrepreneur says this will be a “rewarding experience” following a rollercoaster period in his life; Rob appeared on Channel 4’s Secret Millionaire 10 years ago and more recently as the partner of Ester Dee, one of the Real Housewives of Cheshire.
He is looking forward to his new life as chief executive of property company, Bearmont Homes, and to running the marathon in the coming weeks.
“Sense is an incredible charity, so I’m honoured to have a place in the London Marathon and the opportunity to represent them,” said Rob, a former pupil at Rydal Penrhos School, Colwyn Bay.
“Training is tough and I’ve had the odd injury but I’ve already lost a stone and plan to lose at least one more.
“I had not done any regular exercise for some time so when I first started running I was exhausted after a mile or two, but I’m in better shape now and raring to go.”
Lee Sharpe, who enjoyed a trophy-laden career with the Red Devils, added: “I’m really looking forward to supporting Rob’s challenge and helping to raise as much money as possible for Sense, which is a terrific charity.
“I’m sure we will all have a great time and look forward to seeing a big crowd there on the night bidding on some of these brilliant auction prizes.”
Rob’s last fundraising endeavour saw him break two ribs in a boxing match with former Olympian Courtney Fry, in aid of Cairn Lodge Club.
He has returned to Deva ABC to improve his fitness and is now focused on raising as much money as possible for Sense – which focuses on people living with complex disabilities, including those with sight and hearing loss – at the Manchester event.
“We have some very special guests and some excellent auction prizes, so hopefully we have a great turnout,” said Rob.
“There are still a few tables available, but they are going fast so please get in touch.”
He added: “To have Lee Sharpe with us for the evening is a great coup as he is a fantastic storyteller and one of the stars of that golden generation of Manchester United players.
“It is a black-tie event and there will be a three-course dinner at what is one of the city’s premier hotels, as well as the silent auction, raffle and comedy from John Gillan.
“Most importantly it’s a chance to support this wonderful charity, so we look forward to seeing the venue full on the night.”
Sense Chief Executive Richard Kramer thanked Rob for choosing to run for their charity, and said: “We really appreciate that Rob has got so involved with Sense and feels so engaged, inspired and emotionally connected with our work.
“All the money raised will go towards supporting people with complex disabilities, including those who are deafblind, to live more independent lives.
“We wish Rob the very best with the event and we look forward to cheering him on at the London Marathon. He will have the best team cheering him and our other Sense runners on!”
Sponsors Beyond Professional Services Group (BPSG) are thrilled to support the event.
Head of BPSG Matt Fleetwood said: “We believe, very strongly, in supporting our community and in particular, young people, and Sense does valuable work in this area.”
Amanda McAlister, Managing Partner of McAlister Family Law, part of BPSG, added: “We are committed to making a positive and lasting impact on our community, and much of our work is focused on the welfare of children, so we are delighted to sponsor this important event.”
Tickets are £100 or £1000 for a table for 10. Contact Rob via firstname.lastname@example.org or on 07597376196.