Melksham man Mike Stevens is preparing to trace a familiar route for charity next week, as he runs 50 miles over two days.

Mr Stevens, 30, will be running from his grandparents’ home in Quedgeley, Gloucester, to Melksham, to raise money for Leukaemia and Lymphoma Research and Bowel Cancer UK.

He chose the two charities after being personally affected by both illnesses. He said: “My nan died of leukaemia last year, and as a season ticket holder at Aston Villa I also wanted to do something to support the club captain Stiliyan Petrov, who was also diagnosed with the illness.”

Shortly after the death of his grandmother Mr Stevens was himself diagnosed with ulcerative colitis. “I’ll be running down the way I normally take when I go to visit my grandad, so it’s a route I know well,” he said.

“When my nan sadly passed away it was something I thought about doing, and with my diagnosis, and the thing with ‘Stan’ I decided to do this to give something back.”

Bulgarian international Petrov was diagnosed with leukaemia last March, prompting fans to raise thousands for research into the condition, and Mr Stevens has promised to start the run in his replica Petrov shirt.

Mr Stevens, who works for AB Gerrish sand and gravel merchants in Bowerhill, said: “I have never done any long-distance running before, so I just started doing short runs round the block and building myself up gradually, rather than trying to go straight into long distance.

“I’ve got no real target in mind, but I’m aiming for a competitive pace. I don’t like to do small things, I like to try and push myself, so hopefully when I complete this I can do other things in the future to raise more money. I’m already up to nearly £400 through online donations.”

The run will start on Tuesday morning, with an overnight stop in Tetbury before Mr Stevens heads towards Melksham for the home stretch.

Donations can be made to either cause through or