A SCHOOLTEACHER completed the London marathon over the weekend to help improve research and treatments into rare chromosome disorders.

Nick Bullough, Year Three teacher at Parklee Primary in Atherton, set himself the challenge after teaching Billy Barton and learning about his unique condition.

Billy, eight, was born with a "really rare" chromosome microdeletion disorder, which means he has not developed as quickly as the rest of his peers due to a missing chromosome in his genetic makeup.

Billy's mum Liz, said: "It was absolutely devastating when we learned the diagnosis. At around eight months he still couldn't hold his head up, and we were told he might not be able to walk or talk."

With the help and support rom staff at Parklee - which has included hypermobility physio sessions - Billy has progressed remarkably and has "closed the gap" between him and his peers.

Leigh Journal: Nick Bullough finished the race in an impressive 6:22:46Nick Bullough finished the race in an impressive 6:22:46

Describing the character of the eight-year-old, Nick Bullough said: "Billy's just a legend. He's such a happy little guy and he doesn't let his condition hold him back.

"Although he can become fatigued quickly, he gives 110% in whatever he does, always with a smile on his face"

Explaining that he has always had an interest in special educational needs, Nick decided to research into Billy's condition partly down to its rarity and partly down to how the youngster has handled living alongside it.

Through his research, Nick has since become the school's special needs co-ordinator, and took on the 26 mile challenge in order to raise money and awareness of Unique, a local charity which focuses on the research and treatment of children with disabilities.

A rugby player of 20 years, playing for teams such as Westhoughton Lions, Nick trained for and completed the gruelling run in spite of previous injuries such as horrendous leg breaks.

Billy was "over the moon" that his teacher ran the marathon for him, and watched the race live on TV with all his family.

Although Billy "hope[d] he [would] win", his "amazing" teacher finished the marathon in an impressive 6:22:46.