Firefighter from Burnley goes viral in a blaze of glory for raising almost £30,000 after smashing Manchester Marathon in full kit
A Burnley firefighter is being hailed as a hero across the world after he completed the Manchester Marathon to raise the staggering total of around £28,000 for charity.
But Ryan Jones didn't just run the marathon.. he did it wearing full firefighting gear, including breathing apparatus, weighing in at 34kgs, for the full course.
Setting a target of £5,000 for Dementia UK, Ryan and his proud fiancee, Demi Blakely, were stunned to see donations flooding in from all over the world and his story being shared on social media platforms like LADBible and Reddit. And homegrown celebrity and 'I'm a Celebrity Get Me Out Of Here' star Vernon Kay tweeted about Ryan.
Ryan (33) who is stationed at Hindley Fire Station in Wigan, part of Greater Manchester Fire and Rescue Service, said: "The support has been absolutely tremendous, from across the world.
"I never dreamed we could raise that amount and the total is still rising."
Completing the marathon in six hours, six minutes and 50 seconds, Ryan did the challenge with his colleague, Andy Ball, who came up with the idea to run in full kit. Andy ran for the Alzheimer's Society and his total raised is close to £12,000, meaning the duo will have raised £40,000 between them.
Demi, who is 26 and works as a kitchen designer for Howdens in Burnley, said: "I couldn't believe it when Ryan came home and told me he intended to run the marathon in full kit but that's just him. He loves a challenge and something different, I could not be more proud of him."
Together for four years after they met on a night out in Liverpool, the couple, who both have their birthdays on February 24th, will marry in July next year. Demi moved from her native Leighton Buzzard in Bedfordshire to be with Ryan in Burnley.
Demi was there in Manchester to watch her firefighting hero and cheer him over the finish line.
As part of his training, Ryan regularly ran in his firefighting gear and took part in the Burnley Park Run with his little boy, Teddy, who is six, by his side.
Ryan chose Dementia UK in honour of Demi's grandmother, Lynne Blakely, who has been diagnosed with the disease at the age of 60. The charity provides specialist dementia support for families through its Admiral Nurse service.
Demi said: "You never expect someone at such a young age to be diagnosed with dementia and especially not my nan who has always been so fit, strong and active."
Donations are still being accepted and can be made by clicking HERE