A HARDY Army Sergeant Major from the Wee County completed a gruelling marathon in 40lbs of kit for a cause close to the heart.

Robert Hamilton, 7 SCOTS, ran the full 26.2miles of the Stirling Marathon back in April in a bid to raise funds for Scottish Autism, which is based in Alloa.

It was all worth it in the end as he presented a cheque for a brilliant £2,554.69 to the good cause at the end of last week.

The money will specifically benefit people with an autism spectrum disorder in the central region.

The 50-year-old Army man is a veteran of charity runs and has laced up for a number of causes in the past.

Taking the challenge on for Scottish Autism was an easy choice as he has friends with children on the spectrum as well as friends who work for the charity locally.

Sgt Maj Hamilton, who has been serving in the armed forces for 34 years, felt "great" about the more than £2.5k raised.

And it looks like there is no stopping the local man as he now set his sights on raising money for MND Scotland after a friend's wife was diagnosed with motor neurone disease.

He wanted to thank friends and family as well as patrons at his local pub the Abercromby Arms for donations, also the Royal Oak and its patrons in Alloa for their contributions.

A few hundred pounds also came from Vickie McTaggart, autism practitioner with the charity, who was raising money online as part of the same fundraising drive.

The two have mutual friends and the idea for the fundraiser came after she told him about her work.

She said: "It was very much Robert who had done a lot of the fundraising and obviously put the hard work in by running the marathon.

"However, I was there with my Scottish Autism T-shirt and foam finger, cheering him on with my kids and husband.

"It was really kind of him to offer to do it; I couldn't thank him enough and the people who donated. [They are] very kind and generous and it's going to benefit guys and girls so much."

Karen Wilson, fundraising manager at Scottish Autism, added: "We are extremely grateful to Robert for taking on this challenge for Scottish Autism and we would like to thank all the local supporters who have donated to help raise money for our services in Clackmannanshire.

"This kind donation will help us provide additional services to enhance the lives of the individuals we support in the local area."