Sutton St James John to be the half-marathon man

Keen runner and football fan John Cross of Sutton St James who is running three half-marathons on consecutive weekends in memory of his wife's late grandfather Dennis Atkin, believed to be Wisbech's longest serving postman ever after a 52-year career delivering letters and parcels.  Photo by Tim Wilson.
Keen runner and football fan John Cross of Sutton St James who is running three half-marathons on consecutive weekends in memory of his wife's late grandfather Dennis Atkin, believed to be Wisbech's longest serving postman ever after a 52-year career delivering letters and parcels. Photo by Tim Wilson.
  • Keen runner to take on three races on consecutive weekends as thanks to hospital for its care

A father-of-two from Sutton St James is taking on a challenge that Olympic champion Mo Farah would admire by running three half-marathons on consecutive weekends.

John Cross (42) is putting his love of running to the test in a trio of 13.1-mile races, starting with the Robin Hood Half-Marathon in Nottingham on Sunday, September 25.

A week later, John will be on the start line for the Mablethorpe Half-Marathon on October 2, followed by the Perkins Great Eastern Run in Peterborough on October 9.

The three half-marathons are all to raise money for the Trafford Ward at North Cambridgeshire Hospital, Wisbech, in memory of Dennis Atkin who died of cancer in May, aged 85.

John, who works at Perkins Engines in Peterborough, said: “I’ve been running for about ten years and every two years, I’ve run for a charity.

“Dennis was my wife’s grandfather and he spent the last six weeks of his life in hospital with terminal cancer, the last two weeks on the Trafford Ward at North Cambridgeshire Hospital.

Dennis Atkin.

Dennis Atkin.

“The staff on the Trafford Ward did the best they could for him, and us, so now we want to give something back to them.

“It’s always been at the back of my mind to do something in Dennis’s memory as well and because running is what I’m good at, it was obvious to try to raise money by doing three half-marathons on three Sundays in a row.”

Dennis worked as a postman in Wisbech for 52 years and was thought to have been the town’s longest-serving deliverer of letters and parcels ever.

John’s wife Lisa Cross, whose mother was Dennis’s daughter, said: “Grandad was a true family man and a real 
gentleman who I loved an 
awful lot.

It’s always been at the back of my mind to do something in Dennis’s memory and because running is what I’m good at, it was obvious to try to raise money by doing three half-marathons

John Cross of Sutton St James

“His family – wife, three daughters, grandchildren and great-grandchildren – meant everything to him and he was a very caring, wise man who loved telling us all about his days from years ago.

“Even sitting at his hospital bedside in his last few weeks, Grandad was still telling me stories from his youth that I hadn’t heard before and he also spent many a day telling mine and John’s two daughters tales from the Second World War.

“Grandad was one in a million, he never complained about anything, he would do anything for any of us and was liked and respected by every single person who knew him.

“He is sadly, sadly missed by us all.”

John said: “I’ve done 12 half-marathons and four marathons, but never like this and in such a short space of time.”

To make a donation, visit https://www.gofundme.com/2mwf5bw