Rajinder Singh MBE, also known as the ‘Skipping Sikh’ from Hillingdon in London, is taking on the 2021 Virgin Money London Marathon for the UK’s leading learning disability charity, Mencap, as both he and the charity mark their 75th birthdays.
Rajinder Singh, 74, will be one of over 450 Mencap runners – including 14 runners with a learning disability – taking on the iconic 26.2 miles route from east to west London, via the Cutty Sark, Tower Bridge and The Mall.
Rajinder is running the marathon to raise money for Mencap because he feels like learning disability is all too often forgotten. Every penny raised by Rajinder, and other Mencap runners, will go towards funding Mencap’s life-changing programmes, which aim to tackle stigma and help people with a learning disability lead happy and healthy lives.
This will be Rajinder’s first London Marathon, but he is no stranger to running and keeping fit. The coronavirus pandemic has been difficult time for everyone, but Rajinder was determined to make the most of being stuck at home by inspiring others to get active.
Rajinder launched his skipping challenge where he posted videos of himself skipping at home and inspired others to join him, raising over £14,000 for the NHS Charities Together.
Rajinder was awarded an MBE for services to health and fitness during Covid-19 by the Queen, following the huge success of his skipping challenge. His ambition is to raise awareness of learning disability and vital funds for Mencap by taking on his biggest challenge yet: the 2021 Virgin Money London Marathon.
Rajinder says: “Being awarded an MBE was a huge honour and privilege. I feel very humbled. It was an important recognition, but I never like attention. I am grateful to the support and this award by the Queen, and I hope I can continue to serve others through inspiring people to start skipping.
“I feel like learning disability isn’t given as much recognition as it should do. I know people who have benefited from the work Mencap have done so I would like to raise money for them in return.
“I’ll be turning 75 a few days before the marathon and I want to show people you can still be fit at my age. I’m looking forward to being with other people who all are looking to do one thing. To give back to charity and challenge themselves to finish the marathon. People from all walks of life and coming together to run, skip and walk.”
There are 1.5 million people with a learning disability in the UK, and they face huge inequalities everyday of their lives. The coronavirus pandemic has hit people with a learning disability particularly hard – they have died of COVID-19 at much higher rates than the general population, had their social care support stopped when they needed it most and lost vital opportunities to stay fit and healthy.1
Edel Harris, Chief Executive of the learning disability charity Mencap, says: “We are delighted that Rajinder, along with over 450 other runners, will be taking on the 2021 Virgin Money London Marathon to raise vital funds for Mencap’s life-changing programmes. This has been a hugely difficult year for people with a learning disability but with your support we will be able to continue to provide vital services to help people to rebuild their lives after Covid.
“All of our runners will be helping to raise awareness about learning disability and in turn raise vital funds for our programmes, which are needed now more than ever. Join me in supporting Rajinder by cheering him on, on the day, and by donating to his fundraising page. Through your generosity and encouragement, we can continue to support people with a learning disability to lead happy and healthy lives.”
Founded in 1946, Mencap provides the highest quality frontline support to thousands of people with a learning disability, while ensuring that people with a learning disability and their families and carers can get help through the charity’s helpline, online support services and lobbying and influencing work.
During the pandemic, the charity successfully campaigned for people with a learning disability to be prioritised for the COVID-19 vaccine. The charity continues to campaign for the rights of people with a learning disability as we come out of the pandemic as well as support people in their local community to bring about the changes they want to see to help make a different to their lives.
To support Rajinder, please visit https://www.justgiving.com/fundraising/raj-singh8