A fundraising grandson is to lace up his trainers and tackle the Great North Run in memory of a former MP.
Joshua Boyes, 23, from Peterlee, will take part in the world-famous half marathon on Sunday, September 13, to boost funds for Alzheimer’s Research UK.
Joshua was only four when his granddad Roland Boyes, the former Labour MP for Houghton and Washington, was diagnosed with early-onset Alzheimer’s in 1995, aged 58.
Supported by his wife Pat, Mr Boyes carried on with his MP duties for two years after his diagnosis, campaigning for more awareness of dementia and increased funding for research into the condition. He died in 2006, agead 69.
Marketing executive Joshua said: ““Growing up I watched my granddad deteriorate and saw first-hand how the disease affects not only the individual but the family and loved ones around them.
“My granddad was a proud, hardworking and gentle man and it was devastating for my family to watch him become frightened and aggressive as the disease took hold.
“I was a teenager when granddad passed away and I feel very sad that I never got the chance to know him as the great husband, father and community figure he was.
“The Great North Run is my first fundraising challenge for Alzheimer’s Research UK and my first half marathon ever.
“My nana is very proud of me for taking part and will be there cheering for me on the day.
“Just like my granddad believed, I firmly feel the only way to defeat this disease is though research.
“I want to be a part of the answer that stops families in the future having to experience the same heartache that mine has.”
To sponsor Joshua visit www.justgiving.com/joshboyes.
For further information about Alzheimer’s Research UK, visit www.alzheimersresearchuk.org.