This year, I’ve decided to set myself an almighty challenge; completing 40 marathons in 40 days to celebrate the 40th anniversary of The Prince’s Trust.

You might be thinking I’m mad, but the challenges I’ve faced in my personal life is what spurs me on to help others. My goal is to raise £1m to help The Trust give young people a chance of a positive future and I’m determined to see this through.

I will cover a marathon path across London every day for six weeks in the summer. I’ve taken part in 24 marathons to date. I am aiming to enlist 40 corporate supporters to sponsor me for a day each at £25,000 a time, to raise the £1m. 

I grew up in a dangerous and unstable environment as a child. I was one of five children with a physically abusive father, who once even tried to kill my mother.

I was born in Bermondsey, London (where I live now), but moved with my mother and siblings to Rhodesia in South Africa when I was seven; we were looking for a fresh start away from my father. We spent four years here dodging petrol bombs and bullets during the tumultuous period of the Unilateral Declaration of Independence (UDI).

I was bullied throughout school for being British and never felt like I fitted in. We were deported from Rhodesia had had to return to England without any of our belongings. I was bullied again, this time for having a Rhodesian accent. We had no money and ended up squatting in a condemned house in Stockwell, London.

My stepfather and I would retune old pianos we scavenged from other condemned houses and then sell them down at Old Kent Road. I had a colourful start to life!

I left school at 16 and joined Rockwell as an electrical electronics engineering apprentice. I would roller-skate seven miles there and seven miles back because I couldn’t afford the bus.

I always tell people my success has been down to some lucky breaks, as well as hard work and determination to have a better future.

My first break came at Goupil where as UK Technical Director I landed a big order of computer parts by cold-calling a company in Wales. I was promoted to Managing Director at the age of 21 when the CEO retired after a heart attack. I grew the business (learning from a lot of mistakes), eventually moving to live in France for 11 years working with businesses across Europe.

I then moved to Telecity, now the leading data centre business in Europe. Some 90% of Britain’s internet traffic passes through the centre I helped to create in the London Docklands. I joined when the company was almost bankrupt, took it private at £23m, and re-listed it after consolidation at £400m – it was worth £1.6bn when I left in October 2014.

My life could have gone either way when I was younger. It was almost down to the toss of a coin as to where I would end up next and it was only thanks to a few people giving me a break that I got to where I am today. This is why I want to run the 40 marathons and raise money for The Prince’s Trust, because so many young people need help to make sure their futures don’t just rest on the toss of a coin.

I’m hoping that by taking on such a big challenge, I’ll inspire people to donate and show them that by challenging ourselves we can make life better for someone else.

Will you take on a challenge for us?