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Arise Sir Ray campaign gathers pace

Published date: 30 September 2016 | Published by: Sam Cooper



Gordon Swift.

CALLS for inspirational pensioner and marathon runner Ray Matthews to be knighted are being made far and wide across the borough.

The Advertiser launched the Arise Sir Ray campaign last week and will be writing to the Cabinet Office demanding the greatest honour of all.

But the road-running OAP’s amazing feat of completing 75 marathons in 75 days at the age of 75 has already seen one nomination submitted.

Motorcyclist Gordon Swift, who had to have his right leg amputated following a crash in 2007, wrote to the Cabinet Office last December because of the “amazing support” granddad-of-three Ray offered him during his recovery.

Mr Swift (51), of South Anston, said: “My wife Caroline works at Queen’s Medical Centre in Maltby, which is Ray’s doctors, and they got talking about what had happened to me.

“Ray got in touch with me and would send me words of encouragement because at one point I had reached rock bottom.”

Mr Swift was involved in a three-vehicle collision on the A57 at Todwick in June 2007.

His right leg had to be amputated below the knee, he also broke his right femur, fractured both arms, broke six ribs and shattered his right elbow.

Mr Swift said: “I was on my way home and a car hit me on my side and they gave me a 95 per cent chance of not making it through the night.

“I pulled through — it cost me my right leg but I pulled through and Ray’s encouragement and support during my recovery was amazing.”

Ray, of Maltby, completed his gruelling 75th marathon in as many days in the grounds of Newman School earlier this month.

He hopes to raise £75,000 in sponsorship and donations to pay for specialist playground facilities at the school and has so far collected £24,000.

Mr Swift said: “I submitted the nomination about three months ago because I just thought the 75 in 75 was a brilliant idea.

“I met Ray for the very first time at his 75th birthday bash at Rotherham Titans last year. He is truly an amazing man.

“I was so impressed with Ray’s achievements that I applied to the Cabinet Office for him to be given an award back in December 2015.

“I have been adding news items and updates to the nomination all the time and now the Advertiser is calling for it as well, hopefully it will happen.”

Ray said: “I really appreciate being put forward for the knighthood and thank the Advertiser for it.

“The challenge of running wasn’t that big a challenge and I really want to get this money for the school.”

To donate visit www.goldengiving.com/fundraising/rwrr.

The Advertiser will publish details of how people can support its Arise Sir Ray campaign over the coming weeks.



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