Dad signs up to London Marathon in memory of family pet

13 March 2023

A Cheshire father is going the extra mile for pets in need after signing up to this year’s TCS London Marathon.

Ian Holker (54) is running the 26.2-mile challenge to raise vital funds for leading vet charity PDSA after losing his cat, Keith, last year.

“We lost our much-loved family cat, Keith, last year,” explained Ian. “He had health issues with his upper respiratory track and we went through about six months of treatment with him at the vets which cost us thousands of pounds.

“We sadly lost Keith in September when he was 11-years-old.

“Losing him made me want to do something to honour his memory and also raise funds for pets and their owners who aren’t able to afford the vet bills.

“I started thinking of things I could do to raise funds and settled on the marathon!”

The design engineer is running alongside his son, Phil (28), who is raising money for Steps charity.

“I’m definitely not a runner, but I’m enjoying the training and I’m on track for April,” Ian explained.

Ian, who lives with his wife Michelle (53) in Warrington, has just rescued a kitten called Molly.

“We miss Keith so much but we’ve got our little Molly now and she’s reminded us how much joy pets bring to a family,” he added. “Which makes raising money for PDSA even more important to me.”

Lucy Povall, fundraising manager at PDSA, said: “We’re all so thankful to Ian for choosing to run for PDSA this year. His generous fundraising efforts will enable us to continue our life-saving work, treating pets whose owners have nowhere else to turn. It is thanks to the incredible support of kind-hearted people like Ian that we are able to provide vital treatment for poorly animals and make a real difference to their owners.”

PDSA relies on donations to deliver life-saving treatment to hundreds of thousands of pets across its 48 Pet Hospitals in the UK. To keep families together, the charity is urgently calling on the public’s support more than ever to prevent vulnerable people having to make a truly heart-breaking decision. To find out more about PDSA’s vital work during the cost-of-living crisis, or to donate, visit

To support Ian in his marathon, visit

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