Marathon to keep ‘unique’ club running

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A father-of-two will run a marathon to help people with dementia.

Kieran Lewer, 42, from West Green, will run the Brighton Marathon on April 14 in aid of a club set up by his father-in-law which helps people around Crawley who suffer with early onset dementia.

Members of Neil’s Club meet in Ardingly every Wednesday and the club provides day trips to help people who get dementia before they reach 65 by keeping them active.

Kieran said his father-in-law Nick, who is originally from Crawley but now lives in Horsham, founded the club in 2004 after being inspired while working at a free help line for Alzheimer’s.

He said: “One day he received a call from Karen Penfold from Northgate who’s brother Neil from Bewbush was diagnosed with younger onset dementia in his 40s.

“Nick realised that he would benefit from being active. There was nothing in the area and Neil’s Club is still unique in its concept.”

Neil passed away in 2011 at the age of 51. He attended a couple of club sessions before being hospitalised.

Kieran added: “I know the club meant so much to Neil and his family.

“Younger onset dementia can be a debilitating condition. People who get it in their 40s, 50s and 60s are often wage earners, with families and children and all of a sudden that is all taken away.

“The group provides vital time out for their families or carers.

“Nick said it costs £1,500 to keep the club open for a month so I said if I can keep it open another month, that’s what I’ll do.”

To donate visit www.justgiving.com/kieran-lewer