Jim Carter runs a mile alongside disabled people for Special Olympics

By Alex Green, Press Association

Downton Abbey star Jim Carter has joined people living with disabilities for a one-mile run in the centre of London organised by the Special Olympics.

Carter, best known as Mr Carson in the award-winning ITV period drama, ran from The Mall to Buckingham Palace alongside people with physical and intellectual disabilities.

The Unified Mile was a dedicated wave organised by the Special Olympics during the Vitality Westminster Mile on Sunday, as part of its commitment to highlighting social inclusion as key message of the event.

Carter, an ambassador for the non-profit charity, said it had been an “absolute pleasure” to run alongside 420 athletes, family members, volunteers and supporters at the inaugural event.

Jim Carter (centre) ran in the Special Olympics Unified Mile on Sunday (Ken Hanrahan-Smith/PA)

The 70-year-old said: “Special Olympics Great Britain (SOGB) is a wonderful movement helping people with intellectual disabilities.

“It’s a charity very close to my heart and it was an absolute pleasure to be involved.

“To witness the reaction of the crowds and the faces of everyone taking part at first hand was inspirational and I’m honoured to have been there.”

Sir Mo Farah also joined the Vitality Westminster Mile, which was hosted in partnership with London Marathon Events.

The family wave of the run saw hundreds of people with and without disabilities from across the UK take to the streets.

World Games football gold medallist Joe McKenzie travelled from Inverness in Scotland to join the Unified Mile, while Special Olympics volunteer Mary Phelan flew from Dublin to take part.

Michelle Carney, chief executive of Special Olympics GB, said she felt huge pride following the event.

“Huge thanks to London Marathon Events for giving us this opportunity to be part of this extraordinary day and for all their support in helping to spread the word about our important work,” she said.

“The pride I have for this organisation and our athletes is huge and on a day like today only makes me and the whole SOGB team even more determined to help transform the lives of more people living with an intellectual disability.”