A 71-year-old monk is preparing to a don a pair of running shoes to help raise living standards in Zimbabwe.
Father John Gribben, who is based at Community of the Resurrection monastery in Mirfield, will run a 10km race next month as he aims to raise £10,000 to help impoverished families in the African nation.
His efforts also mark the 100th anniversary of the monastery’s work beginning in Zimbabwe.
Fr John said: “When I was in Zimbabwe a few years back, the average life expectancy of a young woman was 28 and a young man (was) slightly older. I believe that things have improved a little since then, but the fact that in my 72nd year I can contemplate a six mile run is an indication of how much we in Britain have to be thankful for.
“I don’t know what condition I will be in but as several students have agreed to run with me there will always be someone to carry me home.”
Although life expectancy in Zimbabwe has risen considerably in recent years, it currently stands at a mere 56 for men and 60 for women, according to figures from the World Health Organisation (WHO).
The chances of dying between the ages of 15 and 60 remain at a startling 39 per cent for new-born boys.
Cases of tuberculosis, malaria and sexually transmitted diseases remain high across the country’s population, which stands at around 14 million.
Visit https://mydonate.bt.com/fundraisers/frjohngribben to pledge sponsorship online.