A man with Asperger Syndrome who works with children who have autism is limbering up to run the London Marathon this Sunday to raise money for disability charity, Scope.

Matthew Denton, 28, from Bierley, said he wanted to run the marathon to raise awareness of the condition as well as for his own self esteem and mental health.

He says running has given him what he describes as his 'independence' as he often relies on the support of others in his everyday life.

He feels a sense of freedom when he's out training for the marathon. Matthew said he would recommend running as a kind of therapy, that has way more than just the obvious physical benefits.

He explained: "In 2007 I was diagnosed with Asperger Syndrome, a form of autism. My low academic ability, social awkwardness and unusual behaviour meant I found comfort in sports such as football and running.

"It was running which I took into adulthood as it gave me a way of releasing stress.

"At the beginning of 2016 I injured my back in an accident at work.

"I did some physio and soon was back on my feet and within 12 months was running again.

"In April 2017, I had to take some time off work due to some incidents which knocked my confidence. I started to doubt whether I could continue at work. So during a break, I used the running to recover mentally.

"In May last year I ran the Leeds Half Marathon while injured and raised a total of £705 for The National Autistic Society.

"Despite the pain, I was able to finish it in three hours and 16 minutes. This experience has given me huge confidence in my fundraising skills and fitness."

Matthew works in schools around Bradford as a behavioural/special needs assistant and has gained a lot of experience supporting children with a range of disabilities.

"I have decided to take on the London Marathon in 2018 and I am proud to be running for Scope, a charity that exists to make this country a place where disabled people have the same opportunities as everyone else.

"I have set myself the target of running it in five hours. I feel it is do-able."

Matthew has started a fundraising page and has already raised almost £1,300 towards a target of £2,000.

After growing his hair and beard for several months he finally had both shaved off on Saturday to raise more money for the cause.

"I'm feeling the cold now," he quipped.

Anyone wishing to make a donation towards Matthew's marathon run fundraiser can do so by going to: https://www.justgiving.com/fundraising/matty-denton1