A BEATLES tour guide from Wirral will take part in the London Marathon to raise funds for the Salvation Army's fight against modern slavery later this month.

Neil Brannan, from Prenton, ferries visitors to famous sights across Liverpool on the Magical Mystery Tour attraction and is set to run the 26.2 miles around the country's capital to raise money for The Salvation Army, on Sunday, April 28.

The 44-year-old set an initial target of £2,000 to raise for the international church and charitable organisation, currently undergoing the redevelopment of its Strawberry Field site in Woolton.

He is on the way to surpassing that total having already raised almost £1,900 with over three weeks still to go.

Neil said: "This is my second London Marathon I'll be running for The Salvation Army.

"Last year when I ran, it was more about raising funds for rough sleepers and this year it is modern slavery which I've never really paid much attention to.

"You just don't know it exists but it's really in every area, it's just very hidden.

"The Salvation Army does great work to raise awareness of the issue which is why I'm so glad to be running to also help raise awareness as well as vital funds."

The Magical Mystery Tour, operated by the Cavern Club, sees visitors take a fun and fascinating ride around Beatles Liverpool including up to the iconic red gates of The Salvation Army's former children's home Strawberry Field which was made famous by the Beatles' classic Strawberry Fields Forever.

Each year The Salvation Army’s Fundraising Events Unit provides charity spaces for runners to take on the 26.2 miles in support of a Salvation Army project.

This year, all money raised will support the charity's work protecting and caring for vulnerable victims of modern slavery.

Neil continued: "I've been visiting the gates of Strawberry Field for 19 years now and have a lot of contact with the Strawberry Field Salvation Army team and also with Julia Baird, John Lennon's half-sister, who is the honorary president of the Strawberry Field project."

Strawberry Field was a children's home near where John Lennon grew up and The Salvation Army is currently restoring the development to create a training and work placement hub for young people with learning disabilities; a new, visitor experience on the place, the song and Lennon's early life around Strawberry Field; and the development of a haven for spiritual exploration.

Director of anti-trafficking and modern slavery for The Salvation Army, Kathy Betteridge, said: "We can't thank these runners enough for their time and support.

"The Salvation Army's victim care fund provides additional support to help survivors of modern slavery.

"This could be a deposit for someone to move into their own home, clothing for a job interview, or a bike to help someone get to work.

"When the runners are out there facing the marathon challenge, they can be assured that their efforts are directly helping victims of modern slavery transition to independent living.

"We are truly grateful."

Mr Brannan’s fundraising page can be found at www.virginmoneygiving.com/NeilBrannan1