BEST friends from the Taunton area helped raise more than £3,000 for charity after completing the London Marathon.

Hannah Wolverson, 36, from Curry Mallett teamed up with best friend Alex Vipurs to complete the marathon in six hours and 41 minutes.

Hannah was inspired to take on the challenge in memory of her father John who died from a rare form of early onset dementia last November.

Hannah said: “I feel really humbled by the experience of taking part in the London Marathon.

"It is such a huge achievement and a privilege to have been able to do it.

"It really hasn’t sunk in yet. Alex and I ran for the first 16 miles but then both of us were in so much pain that we ran and walked for the next six miles and had to walk the rest!

"By the time we got back to our hotel room we could barely walk so we ordered in a take-away and had a nice bath.

"It was worth it though. The crowds were incredible. I’ll never forget it.”

The money raised by the duo will go towards the National Brain Appeal Dementia support fund.

When John Wolverson was in his late 50s, Hannah and her two brothers, Dale, 38, and Ross, 34, sensed something was not right.

They are a very close family, having lost their mother to cancer when Hannah was just 13 years old.

Hannah said: “Our dad brought us up single-handedly after mum died. We became a really close little team of four and we loved our dad more than anything.”

John, who was a dancing enthusiast and used to work as a dance host on cruise ships, was insistent he was well enough to work on a cruise.

Reluctantly, and with reassurance from the cruise company that medical staff would be on hand if needed, they let him go. Things didn’t work out, however, and John needed to be repatriated home.

Hannah, Dale and Ross were there to meet him. She said: “We took dad straight to hospital. Heartbreakingly he was sectioned but this did mean he finally had a proper clinical assessment and a diagnosis.”

John was diagnosed as having Frontotemporal dementia (FTD), also known as ‘Pick’s disease’.

It is extremely rare, thought to affect around 16,000 people in the UK, where there is a loss of cells mainly in the frontal and temporal lobes of the brain.

He was diagnosed at 57 and died ten years later aged 67.

"We cared for dad for as long as we could until he needed to go into a home," Hannah said.

"When he passed away a huge hole was left in our lives.”

The National Brain Appeal funds Rare Dementia Support Groups where people can meet other families facing similar conditions.

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