A FORMER postman is planning to run the Bournemouth marathon after finally conquering his drug and gambling addictions.

After spending more than two decades battling his demons, 44-year-old Gary Hilton has turned his life around and wants to boost a charity’s coffers.

His inspiration for the run of a lifetime on Sunday, October 6 is his elder sister Lorraine Jones, a bank worker from Lincolnshire, who was diagnosed with breast cancer five years ago.

Gary from Wolverton Road, Boscombe, told the Daily Echo: “Lorraine had surgery and is now in remission; I want to raise funds for her through Breakthrough Breast Cancer.

“I’ve been clean since last December after taking part in a rehabilitation programme in Coventry. I am now focusing on my training for the marathon.”

Gary had been dabbling in drugs since the age of 21. He said: “It started with cannabis and progressed to cocaine and heroin.

“Gambling was my first addiction; my parents kicked me out and once you are on the streets you tend to meet the wrong people.”

He added: “It was a vicious circle. I got involved in petty crime to fund my addictions and ended up in prison. I came close to death several times and suffered renal failure.”

Now Gary spends five days a week training in preparation for the marathon.

He also keeps fit by playing cricket for Boscombe Cricket Club.

He said: “I’ve always wanted to run a marathon; finally it’s going to be possible.”

To sponsor Gary, who hopes to raise £1,000, visit justgiving.com/ Gooner-26miles-hilton or text GAIQ63 to 70070.