A Watford bank manager is running the virtual London Marathon to say thank you to a charity for the kindness shown to his mum and dad when he was a baby.

Benjamin Vis, 24, the local business manager at Metro Bank Watford branch, is running for Home-Start Herts on Sunday October 3.

He is doing it to say thank you to the family support organisation for helping his family when he was seriously ill in hospital with whooping cough as a new born baby.

Mr Vis said: “I spent a considerable amount of time in and out of hospital and nearly died.”

Watford Observer: Ben in his work suitBen in his work suit

“It was a traumatic time for mum Liz and dad Steve who already had two children - my sister Jessica and brother Dominic - to take care of while their new baby was sick.

“It must have been so difficult for them. Mum barely slept, she was worrying and trying to be there for us all.”

Benjamin explained how Home-Start would come in with a volunteer who helped look after his brother and sister so his parents could take him to hospital and visit him there, giving his parents “a much-needed break” during the difficult time.

Mr Vis continued: “If my run can help raise awareness of the amazing work Home-Start does and funds for them too, I’ll be really pleased.”

“I obviously don’t remember any of this time, but chatting to mum and dad I can tell how important it was to them and what a difference it made, which is why I’m so passionate to support Home-Start to help other families who need help like my family did.”

Watford Observer: Benjamin Vis as a baby wit his mum Liz, dad Steve, brother Dominic and sister JessicaBenjamin Vis as a baby wit his mum Liz, dad Steve, brother Dominic and sister Jessica

Benjamin is enjoying training and was inspired to take on the London Marathon after running in lockdown last year.

Last summer, he and a Metro Bank work colleagues raised more than £1,500 through various events for Home-Start Herts.

Benjamin contributed by running 5k a day, every day and finished the challenge by running 42k in 4.5 hours along the canal path around Watford.

He ran from Cassiobury Park, Watford, right down to Hemel and back before it got dark, all completed after work saying that his legs “hurt terribly, the pain was awful”.

He added: “I got the buzz for challenges and it got me thinking how I wanted to do more.

“The next generation is the most important thing to think about. We need to look after children as they are the adults of tomorrow.

“If we can make sure children are looked after as well as they can be, with the help of organisations like Home Start, then it can have a big impact and make all the difference.”

Click here to support Benjamin https://uk.virginmoneygiving.com/fundraiser-display/showROFundraiserPage?userUrl=BenjaminVis1&pageUrl=1

Watford Observer: Ben in his running gearBen in his running gear