A PROFESSIONAL gardener from Haworth is taking his love of the outdoors in a productive new direction this spring.

Steve Thorpe, of Cold Street will compete in the London Marathon on April 26 for the first time. He will be raising money for Sue Ryder Manorlands.

"My mum had leukaemia and she was nursed in Manorlands for her last few months," he said. "The care she received there was wonderful.

"After my mum died I had fairly bad depression and Manorlands sorted out counselling for me, which was really good. I just want to give something back to them.

"This will the biggest challenge I've done in my life. I'm 51 and I haven't run since I was at school.

"But I'm determined to do this and will try and raise as much money as I can.

"I've started my training and I'm working on a 16-week programme. It's going better than I thought, and thanks to my job I'm already fairly fit. If anyone sees me out running just give me a bit of encouragement because I'll need it!"

People can visit uk.virginmoneygiving.com/stevethegardener to sponsor Mr Thorpe online.