Finningham man on London Marathon mission in memory of father-in-law

Gary Pearson, of Finningham, with mother-in-law Brenda Hailstone. Mr Pearson is running the 2016 London Marathon in aid of the Alzheimer's Society.
Gary Pearson, of Finningham, with mother-in-law Brenda Hailstone. Mr Pearson is running the 2016 London Marathon in aid of the Alzheimer's Society.

A north Suffolk man gearing up for the London Marathon in memory of a late family member says he has been surprised by how many people he knows who are affected by Alzheimer’s disease.

Gary Pearson, a self-employed entrepreneur, of Finningham, will tackle the gruelling 26-mile run alongside thousands on April 24, in aid of the Alzheimer’s Society.

The 49-year-old was inspired by his father-in-law Keith, who recently passed away after suffering from Alzheimer’s — the most common cause of dementia.

Mr Pearson applauded the “great support” in fundraising he has received so far and has already exceeded his personal target of £500.

“It’s hard, in this economic climate, running up to people with a sponsorship form. But what I have found is that nearly everybody I know has been touched by Alzheimer’s in some way,” he told the Diss Express.

“It seems to be in the news more and more, about this ‘ticking time bomb’.

“I was surprised but when you sit down and think about it, it’s not unusual for people to have been affected first-hand or second-hand.”

Mr Pearson, who is currently working to set up an online delicatessen, said this would be his first marathon in 20 years, having last taken on such a challenge in London and New York in 1996, before taking up running again in the last couple of years.

In preparation for the marathon later this month, he has completed many weeks of training, gradually ramping up the intensity to include two half-marathons and some runs up to 20 miles long.

He reserved special praise for the staff and residents of Westhorpe Hall, a care home based in Suffolk, for backing his efforts, and to the Eye manufacturer Permastore, which raised £136.17 towards his cause via a bake sale.

The company has also organised a sweep stake for a ‘Guess My Time’ competition.

At the time of writing, the donations total, including online and offline contributions, has crossed the £700 mark.

To pledge support to Mr Pearson, please visit http://uk.virginmoneygiving.com/garypearson2