Fundraiser Stewart South with sons Oliver and Joel South.

A dad of two has made a successful start to a year of special challenges to raise funds and awareness for kidney research.

Stewart South, of Blackborough End, celebrated his 70th birthday in January and decided to set himself a seven-themed challenge to help beat kidney disease.

He has supported research into the disease in the past, successfully completing a number of running races over different distances.

His inspiration has come from his two sons who both needed life-saving kidney donations.  In 1999, Mr South donated one of his kidneys to son Joel, now 38, who was critically ill with kidney failure.

And his other son Oliver, now 41, suffered kidney failure and received a new organ from an anonymous donor in 2002.

Both were treated at Cambridge’s Addenbrooke’s Hospital and money raised from Mr South’s latest challenges will go to the hospital and Kidney Research UK.

His challenge is to complete seven events and raise £1,000 from each.

He has estimated he would cover at least 700km in total over the year.

His events kicked off last Sunday with the Norwich Half Marathon which he completed in 2 hours 4 minutes 36 seconds, three minutes faster than last year, and won his age group.

This will be followed by King’s Lynn’s Grand East Anglia Run (GEAR) 10K on May 6, Edinburgh Marathon a few weeks later on May 27, two more 10K races with dates to be confirmed, another half marathon in September and Amsterdam Marathon in October.

Mr South also plans to take part in at least seven 5K park runs during the year.

As well as his physical challenges to help others, last month he celebrated giving his 100th pint of blood to the NHS Blood and Transplant Service.

He said research has shown 64,000 people each year in the UK are treated for end stage renal failure and more than 5,000 were awaiting a transplant.

“I should be truly grateful if you feel you can support me,” said Mr South, who has an online sponsorship page.

“I would like to think that my challenges at my age might inspire some other Your Local Paper readers to get up and do their thing,” he added.

Donate at http://uk.virginmoneygiving.com/StewartSouth