Chorley man and pals carry 62 stone telegraph pole along Heapey reservoir in honour of late dad

It’s not every day you witness 35 men carrying a 62 stone telegraph pole around Chorley, but that is exactly what James Berry and friends did in honour of his late dad.

By Emma Downey
Wednesday, 25th May 2022, 4:55 am

Builder James, 37, from Chorley lost his dad David Berry, 76, to motor neurone disease in January and decided more awareness was needed to highlight the debilitating disease.

On Saturday, May 14, he carried the seven metre pole weighing around 400 kilos (62 stone) alongside 35 other men, all of which took turns holding it aloft for nearly four miles along the canal.

"Around 90 people walked with us and we managed to raise almost £7,000 for the Motor Neurone Disease Charity.”

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James walking with the telegraph pole along the Heapey canal to raise funds for the motor neurone charity

James has also lost his friend ex footballer George Mellor, 37, to motor neurone disease.

He said: "Three people in the space of 12 months were diagnosed with the disease – two of which have sadly passed.

"George and I played football together from when we were 13.

“Another family member is battling the disease and fighting hard.

James and friends carrying the 62 stone telegraph pole around Chorley in memory of those they have lost to motor neurone disease

"When my dad took ill we didn’t know what was going on. We took him to Royal Preston Hospital with breathing difficulties.

“We were told it looked like he had dementia and he was placed on a ventilator.

“Over a period of six months he just deteriorated.

“It was a very difficult and frustrating outcome.”

The 35 men took turns keeping the pole aloft

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In memory of him and to raise awareness of the condition that cruelly claims lives, James said he was at a pub with friends when the idea came to him.

“I didn’t want it to be a sad affair as we are doing a good thing raising money,” he said

Motor neurone disease (MND) is a condition that affects the brain and nerves. It causes weakness that gets worse over time. There's no cure for MND, but there are treatments to help reduce the impact it has on a person's daily life.

Reaching the finish line

James added: "We are going to do pole carrying next year again as there was a great sense of coming together as a community from it and the back of Covid.”