Friends to 'carry' ex-footballer up the Three Peaks to raise money for his MND battle

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Friends and family of footballer George Melling will take on the gruelling Three Peaks Challenge next Friday, hoping to raise £10,000 for the stricken star.

Thirty people have signed up for the 24-hour trek, taking in Pen-y-ghent, Whernside and Ingleborough, including George’s fiancee Nicci.

Split into two teams, they will carry 101kg - George’s weight - between them on two stretchers.

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The 36-year-old, who has played centre half for Blackpool FC, Morecambe, Altrincham, Kendal and home team Coppull, was diagnosed with the life-limiting condition Motor Neurone Disease (MND) in January after noticing symptoms a year ago.

The team on a practice walkThe team on a practice walk
The team on a practice walk

>>>Read more about George's story hereStewart Boocock, George’s childhood friend, has organised the event. He said: “We had a few drinks and decided on a fund-raising challenge of carrying George’s weight. The Three Peaks was a route we could do it on, and one that we think we can manage.

“But it’s really bad with the stretchers. We’ve done a few practice walks up the individual peaks and we started off with four people carrying the stretcher and had to reduce it to twos, because it meant more rest.We’re lucky we’ve got so many guys doing it, or else it would be a massive struggle.”

Already the group has surpassed its £5,000 fund-raising goal, and are now hoping to raise £10,000 - all of which will go directly to George and his family.

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George said: “It’s absolutely unbelievable the effort people are putting in and the amount already raised. Nicci has been training hard and it’s all my mates too, who I grew up with, so it means a lot to me.”

George and Fiancee Nicci before his diagnosisGeorge and Fiancee Nicci before his diagnosis
George and Fiancee Nicci before his diagnosis

George had been hoping to start a trial for a new drug at Sheffield University, but has since found out his illness doesn’t match the profile of volunteers needed. He is now hoping to be one of the first to start on an American trial in four months time.

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