A Network Rail signaller and avid football fan is running a half marathon and cycling from Wolverhampton to Liverpool to raise thousands of pounds for Dementia UK.
Manjinder Kang, better known as Manny, is part of the signalling team in Birmingham helping to keep trains across the West Midlands moving.
But there’s another team in Manny’s life – Wolverhampton Wanderers – and when they take on Liverpool on the last day of the Premier League season, Manny will cycle more than 100 miles from Molineux to Anfield for the game.
Shift signalling manager Manny said: “We are playing Liverpool away on the last day of the season and I think Liverpool are hoping they could be going for the title that day. This challenge is going to be the culmination of a year’s worth of fundraising for Dementia UK and it promises to be an epic bike ride, followed by an epic game and hopefully a lot of people will get behind the challenge and donate as much as they can.”
For many, the cycle ride alone would be challenging enough, but not for self-proclaimed fitness-freak Manny. Joined by five friends from his local gym, he’ll warm up for the bike ride by running the Malvern Hills half marathon on April 27.
The life-long Wolves supporter originally set out to raise £5,000 but he's now topped £15,000, raising £3,700 alone through selling samosas to fans at football fixtures.
And despite the friendly rivalries inside the West Midlands Signalling Centre in Saltley, Manny says his Network Rail colleagues have all dug deep to help him smash the target.
Manny added: “Being in Birmingham we’ve got a lot of rival fans here – Aston Villa, Birmingham City and West Bromwich Albion, so there is a bit of a rivalry going between the signallers. The vital thing is to raise the funds and get as much as possible and Network Rail and my colleagues have really supported and backed that.”
Manny is already notorious among fellow Wolves fans on social media for his fundraising, with previous challenges raising thousands for Birmingham Children’s Hospital and the Crisis Homeless Charity, but this year he’s chosen Dementia UK.
Manny said: “I’ve met a couple of people, friends and family who’ve had family who’ve suffered from dementia and I just got interested in it, it just opened my eyes to how prevalent this illness was. Dementia UK are a young charity and they need help and their support is vital, and I just felt passionate about helping a charity that is growing.”
You can find out more about Manny’s challenge at www.justgiving.com/fundraising/swatt