A MEMBER of parliament is swapping his shoes for trainers as he prepares to take on the London Marathon.

Nick Smith MP for Blaenau Gwent will be taking on the 26.2 mile marathon to raise vital funds for the Hospice of the Valleys charity, which provides palliative care.

Mr Smith, who is hoping to raise £1,000, has already started training in preparation for the challenge on April 22.

The politician said it would be a "privilege to pound the pavements" for the charity.

“I’ve already been out in the snow, rain and dark evenings to work my way up to this,” he said “The hospice is a real treasure on our doorstep and deserves as much support as possible.

“They have touched so many lives across the borough and it’ll be a privilege to pound the pavements for them.

“I’m sure I’ll regret it a few hours in and it’s a big ask but it’s all for a very good cause.”

Grant Usmar, who is chief executive of Hospice of the Valleys, welcomed the news of Mr Smith taking part in the marathon.

He said: “It is great news that our local MP has chosen to run in the London Marathon in support of our work.

“I know that he has been training in all weathers and we look forward to cheering him round the course.

“We hope that people will get behind him and help raise sponsorship to support his efforts. Funds raised with be used to enable the Hospice of the Valleys team to continue to help hundreds of families across Blaenau Gwent.

“They will be able to provide care and support at the time when families need it most, when they are dealing with the consequences of living with a life-limiting illness.”

To donate, visit uk.virginmoneygiving.com/NickSmithLondon2018