Runners from Ilkley will hit the road in two long distance races this month and next in aid of pioneering research into treatment for paralysis caused by spinal injury.

A mother and daughter from Langbar are heading for the capital on April 13 to run the London Marathon, raising money for Spinal Research.

And members of a local family will be among 61 people running the Wilmslow Half Marathon on March 23, who are also raising money for the charity.

Every day, 20 people suffer spinal injuries in the UK and three are told they will never walk again. These people face a lifetime of care unless a cure can be found for paralysis.

In the Ilkley area four people are known to have suffered broken necks and are paralysed from the neck downwards – two are under 20 years old.

Among those taking part in the Wilmslow half Marathon a week on Sunday are family and friends of local man, Robert Shelton, one of four spinally-injured residents of the Ilkley area.

Mr Shelton, a trustee for Spinal Research, said: “Spinal Research is a rare example of a UK charity being at the forefront of bringing together and co-ordinating research efforts on an international front at a very exciting time when it is getting ever closer to translating laboratory findings into therapies for real people”.

Mr Shelton’s son, Will, gathered together dozens of runners, including sister, Annie, brother, George, along with other friends and family, to do the sponsored run.

Meanwhile, Val Kerr, of Langbar, and her 21-year-old daughter, Emily, are training for the London Marathon.

Mrs Kerr will be running her second marathon in less than six months.

She said: “We would like to try and get as much publicity for this charity as possible as there are now four people in the Ilkley area who have suffered devastating spinal injury and the work of this charity offers some hope that a cure may one day be found for spinal cord injury.”

To make a donation to the Wilmslow team go to or donate online at to support the Kerrs’ London Marathon run.