THREE friends will logging a huge number of steps as they set off on a marathon challenge to raise funds to support dementia patients in local hospitals.

Paul Growney, Brian Lightbody and Conor Heeney are set to walk 26 miles between Southport, Ormskirk, Whiston and St Helens hospitals on Saturday June 15 to raise money for Mersey and West Lancashire Teaching Hospitals NHS Charity.

As if the marathon distance isn’t enough the trio will be carrying a log weighing more than 30kg to highlight the “hidden’’ weight experienced by dementia patients and their carers.

Paul, an Associate Non-Executive Director for Mersey and West Lancashire Teaching Hospitals NHS Trust, came up with the idea and asked his friends to join him in the challenge.

He said: “Working in the care sector, and with my role at the Trust, I see the amazing care provided to our elderly patients and those living with dementia.

St Helens Star: Paul Growney, Brian Lightbody and Conor HeeneyPaul Growney, Brian Lightbody and Conor Heeney (Image: MWL Charity)

“We are carrying the log to symbolise the hidden weight families and loved ones’ experience. We want to raise funds for these vulnerable patients and to show support for their families.’’ Brian has embraced the challenge as he has personal experience of loved ones living with dementia.

He said: “Having had family members live with Dementia, I have seen in their last few years of life the devastating effects of the disease.

“It not only affects the individual, but all those who hold that person dear. Carrying the log to each hospital will only represent a small part of the struggles families face when caring for a loved one with dementia. We will hopefully raise much needed support for the hospitals and their patients.’’ The team will set off from Southport Hospital at 6am on June 15 and are hoping people will show them support while enroute.

They hope to reach their final stop at Whiston hospital by 6pm, competing the challenge in approximately 12 hours.

The MWL NHS Charity team will be supporting the team throughout the day and sharing their progress on social media @mwlnhscharity If you would like to donate to the challenge, you can go to the charity’s website at: www. To find out more about the challenge or how you can get involved with MWL NHS Charity please contact the team at or ring 0151 290 4400.