Marathon man John Walsh has completed the London run nine times and raised £15,000 for charity.

He has already started preparing for next year's race.

John's first few runs were in aid of Barnet Hospital's children's ward in three years, he raised £10,000.

It was a thank-you gesture for saving the lives of his daughter Joanna, who was only six weeks old and seriously ill and son Ryan, then five, who was also very unwell.

The next worthy cause was 'Victa', which helps visually impaired children and John raised nearly £2,000 in three years.

There are usually 200,000 applicants wanting to run the London Marathon and only 37,000 are accepted.

John had been successful in the ballot, which is run by his club Trent Park Trotters, for eight successive years.

Alas, his name didn't come out of the hat for this year's event and it seemed likely that he would have to miss out.

But Times Group sports editor John Pollard came to John's rescue, with a quick phone call to race organiser Dave Bedford.

On Tuesday, John Walsh handed over a cheque for £550 to retiring Mayor of Barnet Gill Sargeant, who has raised £40,000 for her chosen charity, the Safe Start Foundations, which helps young homeless people.