Claret's fan and dad of two set to run 1,000 miles to raise money for cause close to his heart

Ben Parsons with his dog Star who is joining him in the challenge to run 1,000 miles in a year for charity.
Ben Parsons with his dog Star who is joining him in the challenge to run 1,000 miles in a year for charity.
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One man and his dog are preparing to run 1,000 miles in 2019 to raise money for research into a devastating disease that affects 850,000 people in the UK.

Ben Parsons came up with the idea for the challenge after watching the heartbreaking toll Alzheimer's disease took on a close relative who he helps to care for.

Ben with his wife Gemma and their sons Joey (10) and two-year-old Barney.

Ben with his wife Gemma and their sons Joey (10) and two-year-old Barney.

Ben (34), who runs his own building business, said: "This disease affects not just the victim but everyone around them -family, friends and those who look after them and it really is devastating.

"It has affected not just my family but also the lives of good friends and other families we are close to."

Statistics show that the number of people with dementia related illness is set to rise to over one million by 2025.

One in six people over the age of 80 now have dementia and 70% of people in care homes have dementia or severe memory problems.

Although not a runner Ben (34) hit on the idea of the 1,000 mile challenge after Christmas and he has already clocked up 75 miles. And as he lives in Sabden, he is getting used to becoming quite an accomplished uphill runner.

Ben's constant companion on every run is his 14-month-old border collie Star.

Ben, a keen Burnley FC fan, said: "She loves it and would keep running all night if she could."

A former photographer for the Burnley Express, Clitheroe Advertiser and Nelson Leader, Ben is running around 20 miles a week and to boost his mileage he has signed up to run his first marathon and a series of triathlon events.

Ben will compete in the Greater Manchester Marathon in April.

Among friends and family who will be cheering Ben are his wife Gemma and their two sons, Joey (10) and two-year-old Barney.

All the money Ben raises will go to the Alzheimer's Society, a care and research charity for people with dementia and their carers.

To make a donation Click here.