MP is on the run... for charity

Hartlepool MP Iain Wright training with son Ben
Hartlepool MP Iain Wright training with son Ben

FROM walking down the corridors of power to running along the promenade at Seaton Carew, Hartlepool MP Iain Wright is putting in the legwork ahead of a charity challenge.

The 39-year-old will take on the Great North Run next month alongside his son Ben and thousands of other runners.

The two are raising money for the Stroke Association, a cause close to their hearts after 17-year-old Ben suffered a serious stroke at the age of 12.

Ben was rushed into hospital in April 2006 after falling ill while playing football after school.

Tests revealed that the former Manor College of Technology pupil had suffered a stroke and he spent a week in Newcastle General Hospital receiving treatment.

Several months of physiotherapy followed after the stroke affected his whole left side and his ability to speak.

But thankfully the teenager has since gone on to make a full recovery.

And now the town’s MP is aiming to raise as much as possible in a bid to help fund research and care for stroke victims.

Iain said: “I was holding a ward surgery at the time when I got a phone call to say that he had collapsed.

“For the first 48-hours it was absolutely terrifying.

“I do not think that it is too much of an exaggeration to say that it was touch and go.”

Around one in a thousand people who suffer a stroke are under the age of 30 and many children suffer mini strokes.

Iain, who has twice completed the Great North Run, said: “The doctors have said that there is no indication that he is at risk of having another one.

“People think of it as being something that affects older people, but that is not necessarily the case.”

The 13.1-mile BUPA Great North Run takes place in Newcastle and Gateshead on Sunday, September 18.

More than 50,000 runners will be taking part in the event which is now in its 31st year.

Iain last completed the race in 2006 in two hours and 55 minutes – an improvement on the previous year’s three hours and 10 minutes.

But he is not setting a target this year and said he would be happy to get round the course – within touching distance of his son.

He added: “So far there has been low level preparations, but that is being stepped up now with a month to go.

“The first challenge is to finish it and I would love to keep pace with Ben.”

The pair have been training together and they aim to complete the course together.

Ben, who is studying history, politics and psychology at Hartlepool Sixth Form College, said: “I want to raise money to fund research and to raise awareness that it does not just affect older people.”

It is the first time he has done the Great North Run and he is feeling confident.

He added: “I am really looking forward to it – I have trained more than my dad has.”

The pair have received a lot of family support from Iain’s wife Tiffiny, 39, and younger siblings Jacob, 15, Hattie, nine and six-year-old Billy.

To sponsor the pair visit www.justgiving.com/Iain-Wright0