A WIGAN vet put his best toe forward for charity – and better understanding of Islam.
Dr Shams Mir was one of 1,350 volunteers taking part in the annual 13-mile long Ahmadiyya Muslim Association UK sponsored walk.
And when trainers were finally removed from aching feet, he was pleased to have raised more than 1,000.
And this will form part of the 125,000 the event gathered in as a whole, shortly to be split between a host of non-sectarian good causes including Age Concern, the British Heart Foundation, The woodlands Trust, Talking Newspapers for the Blind, Save the Children, Mencap and Cancer Research.
This year he was accompanied on the marathon through woodland in Alton, Hampshire, by his nine-year-old son Muneeb.
And five-year-old daughter Amina proved a very enthusiastic ally during his door to collection of cash pledges from his many friends, neighbours and colleagues.
Dr Mir, a vet for two decades who has worked at Anrich Veterinary Hospital in Wallgate for the past 18 months, has now raised a total of 1,500 for charity in the three Association events he has taken part in.
He says the walks are getting “bigger and better” every year. More than 100 people had agreed to sponsor father and son.
Dr Mir, 47, who lives in Burscough, said: “I wanted to personally help these kind of noble causes and to do it in a way that encourages other people to join in and be a part of it.
“I suppose I could have worked as a locum vet for a time and raised the money that way.
“But I am already quite a busy person, so I thought that taking part in the walk and putting myself out that way was showing a better commitment to try and help.
“For a start, it was a 325 mile journey for Muneeb and myself just to get to Hampshire and back, never mind the walk itself.
“Most of the walkers were elderly and it was very enjoyable talking to everybody as people had come from all over to take part.
“And because the Ahmadiyya Muslim Association bears all the costs of organisation, 100% of the raised funds are given away to charities.”
The Association was established in India more than a century ago to present “the true interpretation” of Islam as it fights for the underprivileged.
Dr Mir also strongly supports the Association’s work to boost understanding of the peaceful tennents of the “true” Islamic faith.
He said: “There is so much misinformation out there about Islam – and almost all of it generated by a minority of Muslims themselves.
“lslam is actually a completely peaceful faith which puts humanity first and has nothing what so ever to do with those who commit violence in its name, nothing at all.”