Runner goes the extra mile for his grandfather

PUBLISHED: 09:38 04 February 2018 | UPDATED: 09:38 04 February 2018

Maurice 'Gana' Penfold died five years ago.

Maurice 'Gana' Penfold died five years ago.

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A 100-mile run has been completed by a Portishead man in memory of his grandfather.

Alex Poulton wanted to raise money for ARUK so ran 100 miles.Alex Poulton wanted to raise money for ARUK so ran 100 miles.

Alex Poulton completed the mammoth hike to raise money for Alzheimer’s Research UK (ARUK).

His grandfather, Maurice Penfold, would have been 100 years old this month but for his death five years ago.

Gana, as he liked to be known, spent the final years of his life however battling with vascular dementia. It is the second most common type of dementia and occurs when the brain is starved of blood flow.

Gana’s illness became increasingly apparent following his diagnosis in 2010.

Alex said: “We could see he was getting confused and struggling with his balance and walking.

“At that point it was decided my grandparents would move in with my parents, but a few weeks after settling into his new home, he fell and broke a rib which resulted in him being admitted to hospital.

“At that stage, the dementia really took hold. He returned home for a while, but sadly it became clear that he required a higher level of care.

“At that point, he moved into a care home full-time.

“Nana sadly passed away at Christmas in 2012. Without regular visits from his wife, Gana deteriorated very quickly.

“Watching his decline was very tough on the whole family.

“He sadly passed away less than three months after my grandmother.”

Having witnessed the effect Alzheimer’s can have, Alex was spurred on to undertake a tough physical challenge.

A 100-mile run was his selected challenge for which raised money for ARUK.

Alex said: “We need research into dementia because it affects so many people.

“It’s an awful thing to watch somebody who was the centre of the family lose themselves, but to not even realise that they’re losing themselves.”

ARUK believes the money will make a big difference.

Its fundraising officer James Warren said: “We would like to thank Alex for taking on this amazing challenge in memory of his beloved grandfather.

“Our vision is a world free from the fear, harm and heartbreak of dementia, and this can only be achieved through research.

“This can only happen through the fantastic fundraising efforts of people like Alex.”

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