A vet who hates running is tackling the New York Half Marathon to raise £5,000 for cancer research and animal charities.

Peter Wright, who trained with Britain’s most famous vet Alf Wight, otherwise known as author James Herriot , is now the senior partner in the Skeldale Veterinary Centre in Thirsk, the practice where Alf Wight and his famous boss Donald Sinclair worked.

Despite giving up sport 16 years ago, Mr Wright decided to go in for the half marathon with his friend - former Middlesborough FC striker Bernie Slaven - who is raising money for diabetes.

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Mr Wright said: “There are not many families that I know of, including my own, that haven’t been touched by cancer, or know someone who’s been desperately ill with cancer, so I want to raise money for the charity Yorkshire Cancer Research.

"I also feel that there are a lot of animal charities in our local area who are struggling to cope with increasing numbers of abandoned pets and I’d like to support them as well”.

He has been trying to keep a low profile whilst getting fit undertaking runs with his dog, Alf, in Kilburn Woods where there is no risk of being spotted.

He added “A lot of my clients think I’ve taken leave of my senses. They’re amazed that I’m even attempting that kind of thing, because they just don’t see me as that kind of person, as a highly honed athlete.”

While they may have doubts about the wisdom of his plans they have been supportive, 120 people have already signed up as sponsors. Contact Skeldale Veterinary Centre on 01845-522297 for more information.