Why Downton Abbey star Allen is getting into shape for a charity fun run

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YOU MIGHT imagine actor Allen Leech might have his handful with the return of Downton Abbey last night for a long-awaited fifth series.

But the man who plays Tom Branson in the hit show, is getting in shape for a fun run next weekend in Yorkshire.

Leech will join girlfriend Charlie Webster and the Sheffield United ‘Blade Runners’ at the Bupa Great Yorkshire Run on Sunday.

The Irishman will run with a team of Sheffield United staff in support of Sheffield charity Roundabout.

The youth housing charity provides shelter, support and life skills to young people. It also provides emergency accommodation for homeless young people across the city, helping 150 youngsters a day, although it has to turn away many more because it is full.

The Blade Runners accompanying Branson and Miss Allen are academy staff members Nick Cox, Luke Smith, Ed Owen, John Dungworth, Travis Binnion, Ash Foyle, Alex Delves, Luke Jenkinson, Emily Cain, Mark Pease, George Delves and Chris Bradley, as well as scholars Danny Ramsey and Aaron Ramsdale.

They will join thousands of runners on a route that starts and finishes on Arundel Gate in Sheffield city centre.

Leech was born in Ireland and his breakthrough film performance was in Cowboys and Angels followed by the 2004 cross country caper film Man About Dog, Leech was voted sexiest Irish male in 2005 in U Magazine.

Meanwhile, true Downton Abbey fans can get married in style.

Surrey County Council now has a licence to conduct weddings in the Victorian courtroom which was used to film the trial of Lord Grantham’s valet, Mr John Bates (played by Brendan Coyle).

The ornate and elegant room, which is inside the local authority’s Kingston-upon-Thames headquarters, was the setting for the tense scenes, which took part in series two of the show, filmed in 2011.