A DARWEN man who was due to run the New York Marathon this month says his heart goes out to the victims of Hurricane Sandy.

And despite the race being cancelled, Neil Pilkington, 48, will carry on raising funds for his chosen charity.

The father of Norwich City player Anthony Pilkington was due to go to New York with his friend and Darwen Dashers runner Russell Egan.

The race had been due to start in Staten Island, the hardest-hit part of the city, where 19 people died as a result of the storm.

Neil said: “If the marathon had gone ahead it wouldn’t have been right. We were offered flights to Canada but it wouldn’t have been feasible. This was before we knew the race was cancelled.”

The pair were due to travel to New York to celebrate Russell’s 50th birthday as well as raising thousands of pounds for sick children.

Their fundraising efforts for the When You Wish Upon a Star foundation will continue as they hope to run in the Paris Marathon next April.

Neil, who lives in Jacks Key Drive with his wife Sandra, said both Anthony, 24, and his younger son Daniel, 22, who plays for Kidderminster Harriers, had been really supportive and were helping out with extra fundraising for the organisation.