A VICAR in his 60s is running the a marathon to raise funds for his churches - one of which has been left with a leaky roof after numerous lead thefts.

Reverend John Binks, priest at St John’s, Accrington, and St Augustine’s, Huncoat, is putting on his running shoes to raise cash for vital building work at the two churches.

He also plans to raise money for St Peter’s Church in Haslingden, near to his Sandown Road home.

Retired fundraising manager John, 63, was ordained six years ago and has been looking after the congregations at St John’s and St Augustine’s for over three years.

Both churches need constant repair and maintenance in order to keep them available for worship and their various other uses.

St John’s has also had over a dozen reported lead thefts and surrered a leaking roof.

While St Augustine’s weather vane is currently under repair after shifting during a gale earlier in the year.

Mr Binks said: “Despite these difficulties, the churches remain open and continue to do their work ministering to those around them. We are always looking for ways to serve our people but to do this we need the funds.

“Both my congregations work very hard on all aspects of their ministry and a little help with fundraising never goes amiss.”

“I completed a couple of marathons in my 40s and have continued to run about five miles, two or three times a week.

“I would hope to raise a couple of hundred pounds for each of the three churches.”

John signed up to the Preston Guild Marathon, which will take place on October 28, back in July.

Since then, he has been seen spotted out running for hours at a time in preparation for the big day.

He said: “Running gives me uninterrupted time to connect with God and think about things - my situation and the situation of others, and work through knotty problems. I sometimes prey when I’m running and I find it very relaxing.

“One or two of the parishioners have asked if I’m capable of doing it, but the embarrassment of not completing the marathon will keep me going on the day.”

He aims to finish in five hours and hopes the weather is on his side.

Sponsor forms have been circulated to friends, family and parishioners.

You can sponsor John by ringing 01706 229 285.