FORMER Taunton Town star Owen Irish is embarking on a multi-marathon challenge in memory of a childhood friend.

The centre-half is to run three marathons in three days, starting in Land’s End on Saturday, June 9 and finishing at Cooper Associates in Taunton on Monday, June 11, to raise money for the Josh Evans Trust Fund.

This year marks the 10th anniversary of Josh’s tragic passing in a car accident caused by his diabetes, just three weeks after his 21st birthday.

Somerset County Gazette:

IN MEMORY: Josh Evans

Irish said: “I knew Josh from an early age - we went to North Petherton Primary School together and later both worked at ASDA in Taunton.

“I’m one of three brothers and we all got on really well with Josh, our families were good friends. I remember exactly where I was when we heard the news of his passing and it hit us hard.

“I still see his parents regularly and they put in so much hard work for his fund. For them it is an endless expedition so, on my part, four or five months hard work is almost the least I can do to help out.”

Reflecting on the work of the charity, Irish said: “It’s targeted at youngsters with diabetes and it’s about giving opportunities to show diabetes is not as restricting as can be assumed.

“Perhaps more importantly it is about educating them, regarding things like injections and dos and don’ts. 

“I know they have had some lovely feedback from families they have helped and, from their point of view, if they help one family it is worth it - they have already done that and a lot more.”

As for the challenge itself, Irish - who moved to Tiverton Town in October after nine seasons at Wordsworth Drive - admits it has “caught him out” somewhat so far.

“Football gives me a foundation, but I’m not a seasoned runner,” he said.

“Before this challenge I had never run further than about eight miles, but over the weekend I did over 30 miles so I’m getting there.

“I’ve been reading that sleep is key in terms of recovery, but that’s proving difficult with [his baby son] Hugo.

“I’m a driven person and I like having a focus. This season has been a bit of a nightmare with injuries so I needed something to set my sights towards and, being 10 years on from Josh’s passing, I wanted to give something back.”

Irish has set a fundraising target of £5,000 - to support him and donate to the Josh Evans Trust Fund, click here.

There will also be a Josh Evans Trust ball to raise vital funds. This will take place at North Petherton RFC on Saturday, June 23.