Romford marathon runner, 82, awarded MBE in Queen’s Birthday Honours
PUBLISHED: 07:00 21 June 2017
An 82-year-old man who has run more than 100 marathons for charity has won recognition for his fundraising from the Queen.
Leonard Nye, of Blenheim Close, Romford, was made a Member of the Order of the British Empire (MBE) in the Queen’s birthday honours on Saturday, June 17, and said he was overjoyed at having been recognised.
“I’m over the moon.
“I couldn’t believe it. I don’t do it for the glory or anything, I just wanted to do it for children.”
Leonard – known to some people as John – has been running for 60 years and started in the 1950s while doing national service.
In an astonishing feat, Leonard has run 300 half marathons, 26 London marathons and 76 full marathons all over the world.
“I’ve run in Stockholm, Italy, Cyprus, Dubai, New York... but my favourite is London,” he added.
“It’s so full of atmosphere, the amount of people, the crowds, nothing comes up to London. Not even New York. It’s a lovely run but nothing compares to London.”
Through his racing career, Leonard has raised around £100,000 for charities including Little Havens Hospice in Benfleet, Havering-atte-Bower’s Saint Francis Hospice, and for heart research at Guy’s and St Thomas’ NHS Foundation Trust.
“I feel so blessed and so lucky that I am running at the age I am,” continued the great-grandfather.
A great fan of the Queen, Leonard runs in a Union Jack outfit, even down to his watch and socks.
At the end of his races is his lovely partner Maud.
“I was married for 30 years [to Maureen who died] and I used to carry a rose round with me in memory of her,” he added.
“Now I give it to Maud at the end. We’re not married but I did get down on one knee after one race – but I couldn’t get back up again.”
Due to his age, Leonard now plans to hang up his running shoes.
“John’s personal contribution to the charity has been outstanding,” said Little Havens events manager Judy Grocott.
“He always puts caring for others first and he always honours his commitments, even though he personally does not always have the best health.
“Little Havens can only exist because of the kindness of our supporters like John.
“His drive to support and tirelessly fundraise for our children and their families is truly helping us fulfil our promise of making every day count.”