EMOTIONS were running high when a group of fundraisers crossed the finish line of a 24-hour relay in support of their friend who received a shock diagnosis last year.

More than 125 Hatch Warren Runners took part in a relay race over the weekend in support of fellow club member Pete Styles after he was diagnosed with Motor Neurone Disease in November.

The keen runner used to go out three times a week with the club but is now in a wheelchair after losing the use of his legs because of the illness.

Members of the club decided to support the charity which has helped Pete’s family following his diagnosis, by running in groups of six every half an hour between the Portsmouth Arms in Hatch Warren and The Holly Blue in Beggarwood, starting at 12noon on Saturday and finishing 24-hours later on Sunday.

Speaking to the Gazette when the race had finished, an emotional Pete said: “It’s overwhelming to be honest. What they have done is amazing and they have done it all for me which I find really hard to take. I was crying in the background.”

The 51-year-old father-of-three from Beggarwood, who is a national installations manager for a kitchen fitting business, said the diagnosis came as a “bombshell” when he found at the same time as his wife was going through chemotherapy.

He added: “I have a positive mind now, but my legs don’t work and that’s the most important thing. I used to run three times a week.”

Pete joined Hatch Warren Runners for the first and last relay in his mobility scooter.

Helen Brooker, who organised the event named Miles for Styles, said: “We were all frustrated because of lockdown and not being able to help Pete in a practical way so we decided to raise money for the charity that’s supported him and his family.”

The mother-of-two took part in five of the relays, including one at 10pm last night.

She said: “We are coming out of a period where we have all had to run solo and it’s been great for us to get back together as a club and feel like a community again.

“It’s been really difficult because we haven’t been able to do anything to help Pete.”

The club has so far raised more than £10,000 so far for the Motor Neurone Disease Association.

To donate visit https://uk.virginmoneygiving.com/fundraiser-display/showROFundraiserPage?userUrl=HatchWarrenRunners&pageUrl=1.