Inspirational dad’s challenge

Michael Saville, Jonathan Firth and Tony Fawcett, walking coast to coast along Hadrians Wall for Overgate Hospice. Jonathan is then doing the Great North Run for Brain Tumour UK.

Michael Saville, Jonathan Firth and Tony Fawcett, walking coast to coast along Hadrians Wall for Overgate Hospice. Jonathan is then doing the Great North Run for Brain Tumour UK.

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A brave dad-of-three who has had one of the toughest years of his life has shown inspirational strength to sign up for a coast-to-coast walk AND the Great North Run next week.

Jonathan Firth, 46, of Brookwater Close, Salterhebble, is still undergoing tests on what doctors suspect could be a tumour on his brain.

But on Saturday he will walk with two friends from the west coast of England to the east for Overgate Hospice and two days later run the Great North Run for Brain Tumour UK.

The first Mr Firth knew there was something wrong was when, on his way home from work in February last year, he had a seizure at the wheel of his car while parked at traffic lights on Pellon Lane.

Being a 17-stone man and locked in by his seatbelt, the power of the seizure also broke his back in three places and dislocated his right shoulder.

At one point, Mr Firth said he didn’t know if he’d walk again but has conquered a year of horrific back pain to regain his fitness - intially with the help of physiotherapists in hospital. He said: “I was in a lot of pain, it hurt like hell, bit I did it.”

Mr Firth, who went back to work full-time at his job at Suma Foods in Elland, said: “It’s been a fairly tough year. Just getting through each working day and resting as necessary.

“But in March this year, I started to feel a lot better and started doing a lot of walking.

“I’d go out doing six mile walks, three times a week and got myself up to the stage where I was running.”

Two of his colleagues at Suma, Mick Saville and Tony Fawcett, signed up to do the walk the length of Hadrian’s Wall from Saturday September 8 to Friday September 14.

He said: “I tagged myself on to that but in a moment of madness I realised the Great North Run was on as well. I managed to get myself a place through Brain Tumour UK to raise further funds for them. So having walked 84 miles in seven days, I’ll then proceed to run 13.1 miles around Newcastle on the Sunday.”

To sponsor Mr Firth visit http://uk.virginmoneygiving.com/BigJon1966.Support the trio at www.overgatehospice.org.uk.