A KIND-HEARTED man is taking on a 31-day 155km challenge to help make the life of his friend easier as he battles motor neurone disease (MND).

Former Westleigh High School pupil Mark Grimshaw is walking or jogging 5km every day in January in aid of dad-of-three John McGaw, 39, who was diagnosed with degenerative disease MND in 2015.

Catering manager Mark, 35, met John, of Castle Douglas, Scotland, through an online betting group just over four years ago.

Since then, they have enjoyed spending time together at horse and greyhound racing events.

Their friendship has grown stronger and Mark has made the journey north of the border a few times to visit his pal, and also named John as a godfather to his first child Edith, who was born last year.

And now Mark is helping his friend through the challenge, with proceeds from a crowdfunding page going towards making changes to his new home – which is in the process of being built – to make his life more manageable.

Mark, who is in contact with John every day, said: "John is funny and stubborn.

"I do not think he would still be here if he was not as stubborn as he is.

"Sometimes that is to his detriment as he does not ask for help.

"He won't be beaten by anything, he has had MND for five years now.

"And when you are low he is always there for you.

"If changes are made to his new house it will help him to get on with his life."

Mark, who grew up in Leigh, added that before being diagnosed with MND, electrician John ran his own successful business.

But he had to stop working following his diagnosis.

The challenge will be tough for Mark, who admits he is not in peak condition following the festive period.

He has started his daily exercise targets through walks and on a treadmill, to make it easier for childcare, with the aim of jogging in the closing stages.

His stepdad Kevin, a regular Park Run participant, will join him on some occasions too.

Mark, who weighs 17-and-a-half stone, added: "I am not the fittest guy in the world and the Christmas time will have taken it's toll on me!

"But there's nothing that keeps you going more than wanting to help a friend go through a horrific disease."

To donate to Mark's crowdfunding page in support of John visit https://gf.me/u/y64n3z.