A MARATHON runner will have a thousand reasons to smile when he crosses a finishing line this weekend.
Simon Roberts, of Flint Mountain, will tackle the Chester Half-Marathon on Sunday to help raise funds for Emmy Taylor, from Flint, who was the victim of a fire in June, 2011.
For Simon it will be the culmination of running 1,000 miles in one year for the brave little girl.
During a holiday in Barmouth, Gwynedd, Emmy suffered 65 per cent burns in a caravan fire, which claimed the lives of her uncle Andrew Taylor, 26, and grandfather Robert Taylor, 57.
The Ysgol Gwynedd pupil was rescued by her grandmother Denise, and underwent emergency treatment to save her life.
Since then, Emmy – who is now five – has required repeated operations for her injuries at Alder Hey Children’s Hospital, and will continue to need extensive treatment throughout her life.
Simon, 30, began fundraising for the Emmy Taylor Fund after last year's half-marathon, and has already raised more than £1,300 - but plans to reach £2,000 after completing the race.
This will complete his 1,000 Miles for Emmy challenge, in which he aimed to run more than 1,000 miles between the two half-marathons.
He said: “That brave little girl has gone through a hell of a lot more than people my age have, or even older. If we can help the girl out, and her family, at the end of the day that’s the idea."
He added: “And it keeps me fit too!”
This is not Simon’s first fundraising venture – he has raised more than £20,000 for the cancer unit at Glan Clwyd Hospital, Rhyl.
He has also taken part in marathons and half-marathons in Snowdonia and Liverpool.
Emmy’s father Ian Taylor said: “It’s really good what he’s doing, it’s amazing. I’ve seen him out and about in all weathers.”
To donate, search for 1000 Miles for Emmy at www.fundrazr.com.
See full story in the Leader