A BIG-HEARTED vet is running three marathons to support working horses and donkeys around the world.

Horse vet Ben Portus, who runs Paton and Lee Equine Veterinary Surgery, in Witham, will run the London Marathon next month in aid of the Brooke charity.

The 40-year-old is also running the Edinburgh Marathon and Cornwall’s Classic Quarter 44-mile Ultramarathon and hopes to raise £2,500.

Ben has been raising money for Brooke since 2006 and this will be his fourth consecutive London Marathon to support their work.

Money raised by Ben will go towards Brooke’s work across Africa, Asia, the Middle East and Latin America, bringing positive change to the lives of working horses, donkeys and mules and the people who depends on them.

He said: “Every year I’m blown away by the generosity of my clients and they’ve helped me to raise thousands for Brooke over the years.

“This year I’m getting a T-shirt printed with the name of every sponsor on it so they can run each of the marathons with me.”

There are currently 100 million horses, donkeys and mules working to support the lives of around 600 million people in some of the poorest parts of the world.

Ben added: “Training this year has been really tough – it just seems to have been so windy every weekend in February, so all of my long runs have seemed extra-long into the headwinds.

“It’s going well now though. I’m up to 17 miles and it’s getting easier now the days are a bit longer.”

In his spare time, Ben is a pilot and is currently training towards a qualification which will allow him to fly in cloud and poor weather conditions.

He said: “I am offering a free scenic flight around the region to one winner from among all of the donors, just as an extra incentive to donate.”

n To donate to Ben’s marathon challenge go to virginmoney giving.com/ben2020.