HE SPENDS his working day helping man's best friend enjoy walkies.
Now a leading Wigan vet has donned trainers for a mighty march of his own – for good causes and a better understanding of Islam.
Dr Shams Mir, of Wallgate’s Anrich Veterinary Hospital, took part in the annual sponsored Walk for Charity organised by Ahmadiyya Muslim Association UK.
A total of 3,090 men, women, boys and girls from all walks of life from across the country took part to raise 250,000 for organisations ranging from Age Concern to Macmillan Cancer Support.
Shams, with sponsorship from 115 generous friends, neighbours and work colleagues, was able to raise more than 1,200, eclipsing his target from last year.
He was accompanied for six of the 13 miles around the route through Merton, Greater London, by his 10-year-old son, Muneeb.
Shams, 48, said: “It might sound a lot of effort and sacrifice, but meeting people with bodily disabilities taking part in the walk put me to shame.
“One pensioner had undergone surgery with implants on his hips and knees and ended up being described as ‘Bionic Man’ by the local press.
“What makes this marathon distinctive is that 100% of the money raised is given away to charities and all the administrative expenses are borne by the organisers.”
This year a third of the funds raised were given away to the Water for Life Scheme. Run by the UK-based international charity Humanity First, its aim is to dig 100 wells for drinking water in Africa’s most water-scarce regions.
The remaining two thirds went to a range of other British charities ranging from Help for Heroes to the PDSA, Britain’s largest veterinary charity.
Shams pointed out that the world-wide Ahmadiyya Muslim Community has been working for more than 100 years to alleviate the suffering of humanity regardless of the race, colour or religion.
He said: “There is so much misinformation out there about Islam – and almost all of it generated by a minority of Muslims themselves.
“Islam is actually a completely peaceful faith which puts humanity first and has nothing whatsoever to do with those who commit violence in its name, nothing at all.
“Charitable work, perhaps, has never been as important as in these troubled times when humanity is suffering from the consequences of wars, disease and hunger.
“I think all of us, regardless of our personal standing, should do a little bit to help the underprivileged and suffering humanity in the world.”