Pal’s death gets Simon on his marks for fund-raising

The late Roger Wilkinson and his widow Steph.
The late Roger Wilkinson and his widow Steph.

A NORTHUMBERLAND forensic mental health social worker and occasional DJ is taking part in the Great North Run in memory of his friend who died of motor neurone disease.

Simon Denny will be among the 54,000 runners for the 13.1-mile event on Sunday.

He hopes to crack two hours and raise hundreds of pounds for the Newcastle-based North East MND Trust in the process.

Simon, 36, who is married to GP Nell and has a 21-month-old son Joe, has been anxious to raise funds for the Trust following the death of Roger Wilkinson in 2010.

“Roger was one of the first people I met after I moved to the area in 2006 and I have many fond memories of him, especially the times we played five-a-side football,” said Simon.

He has been in training since January, pounding the footpaths of north Northumberland.

“I’ve thoroughly enjoyed the training runs and even managed to lose a stone in weight,” he said.

“This will be my first half-marathon.

“I hope to do a few more and possibly graduate to the London Marathon in a couple of years.”

So far, friends and colleagues have donated more than £300 online in sponsorship.

“People have been very generous and I’m hoping to get that total past the £1,000 mark,” he said.

Norfolk-born Simon, who has played semi-professional football in his native county, is a keen collector of vinyl recordings and has a regular music show on Alnwick-based Lionheart Radio.

He also performs once a week with pal Steve Haswell as the Hoo-Har DJ-ing team at Tilley’s Bar next to Newcastle’s Tyne Theatre, specialising in reggae, soul, blues, funk and Jamaican R and B.

Anyone interested in sponsoring Simon can do so at