Norwich man will pay tribute to Charles Dickens while running the London Marathon for Alzheimer’s Society

A local bookseller is planning to run the London marathon – with an unusual literary twist.

Iain Dempster, 61, wants to complete the 26-mile course whilst performing a dramatic reading from the works of Charles Dickens in order to raise money for the Alzheimer's Society.

Iain, of St Stephens Street, Norwich, wishes to go the whole way and dress in the traditional attire of a Victorian gentleman to run the race, which is being held on Sunday, April 22.

The former Downham Market High School teacher said: 'I couldn't decide which character to be. I did think of Mr Bumble, but then realised it would probably need too much padding and I'd get a bit hot, so I've gone for a more all-encompassing look.

'This is, of course, the 200th anniversary of the birth of Dickens and I am quite confident that this has not been previously attempted!'


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Iain aims to collect �5,000 for the charity and wants to raise awareness of the disease, having had a family history of Alzheimer's.

He continued: 'I will be buying my top hat from the local fancy dress shop and keeping it on my head for as long as possible.'

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Iain has previously run several marathons in aid of the disease, including races in San Francisco, New York and the Great North Run for which he dressed as Elvis Presley, and this will be his fifth marathon.

He will be taking suggested Dickens extracts from sponsors and dedicating them to whoever donates as he runs, before moving on to reading 'David Copperfield'. He is also thinking of reading from 'A Christmas Carol,' despite rather out of season.

He added: 'David Copperfield is my favourite novel and it was the first Dickens book I read. It's the most autobiographical story and it has such lovely characters for a dramatic reading.'

He will train for the marathon by walking around the streets of Norwich while reading Dickens, starting in the next few days.

He has previously owned two second-hand bookshops in Downham Market and King's Lynn, which stocked plenty of Dickens novels from which he will choose his readings.

- To sponsor Iain, go to www.justgiving.com/idempster or go to 01603 623305.

- Are you running the London Marathon for charity? Go to www.iwitness24.co.uk and send us your training pictures, details about yourself and details of how people can donate to your chosen charity.

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