London Calling in friends' tribute

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Three runners have passed the finishing post before taking one step on a marathon challenge.

Friends Dom Cornacchione, Ben Hulme and Chris Swarbrick, all from Fulwood, Preston, have broken through the 10,000 fundraising target they set themselves as they gear up for tomorrow's London Marathon. But they have no plans to stop running.

The money, which so far totals 10,779, will be handed to charity Epilepsy Action in memory of friend Stuart Burke, 32, who died on the day of last year's marathon of a sudden unexpected death in epilepsy (sudep), which kills 600 young people every year.

Father-of-two Ben, 32, the only one of the three to have run the marathon before, said: "We were all in the pub after Stuart died and we said we should do something to mark his life.

"He was a keen runner and far faster and fitter than any of us, so we thought this would be a good way to remember our mate."

Joiner Dominic, 34, said he hoped the trio's efforts would not only mark the memory of their friend and raise charity cash, but also raise awareness of the condition.

He said: "Initially we set the target at 6,000 and thought we would struggle to get that, so when we got past 6,000 we thought we may as well go for 10,000 and now we have got past that we just want to keep going and raise as much as we can."

However, pounding the 26 miles and 385 yards of London's streets is only part of the fundraising efforts.

There has been a series of events organised to help boost the fund, including a concert two weeks ago arranged by Stuart's parents Norman, 58, and Christine, 54, of Garstang Road, Broughton.

His father said: "We had a concert at the village hall where we raised 2,265 in one night.

"We had artists giving up paid gigs and putting off writing albums just to come and play here and everyone pulled together to make it a fantastic night.

"Stuart's colleagues at Preston Council have raised 794 and there have been so many other little events which have added a bit here and there.

"We have just been overwhelmed by the support we have got."

To donate, visit www.justgiving.com/stuburkememory.

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