A ROYTON runner has taken on a daunting dozen of challenges on a journey to help make dreams come true for youngsters with life threatening illnesses.

Patrick Harwood set himself a 12 in 12 fundraising campaign for When You Wish Upon a Star which helps grant wishes for poorly youngsters.

The dad-of-two began his epic year of races last November with the Wilmslow 10k followed by the Oldham Winter Bimble and Heaton Park 10k.

His next - and, he says, most gruelling - will be the Manchester Marathon on April 7, followed by the Great Manchester Run in May when he will attempt the Great Manchester Run with his finance Rachael.

In June he will take on the Oldham 10k, the Yorkshire Tough Mudder in Yorkshire in July, the Blackpool Illuminations 10k in August and the Littleborough 10k in September.

But October will be the real test as he prepares to hit the starting line-up of the Rochdale Half Marathon, Manchester Half Marathon and Oldham Half.

"I am having massive issues with my knees at the moment and training for the Manchester Marathon has been very tough to say the least, especially finding the time to get my long runs in despite having two young children," said Patrick, who completed eight similar challenges for the Alzheimers Society in 2017.

"This has meant me getting up at 5am most Saturday mornings to complete long runs up to 20 miles and it's usually a case of getting home from my runs and then heading straight out again to take my two boys to football training at Mark Innes Coaching Academy.

"I am especially looking forward to the Great Manchester Run as I will be completing it with my fiancée Rachael, the first time we will have done an event together.

"I am aiming to raise as much money as I possibly can - at the moment my target is set to £500, but I am realistically hoping to get closer to £1,000 and make a massive difference to the lives of these young children who are granted a wish."

Patrick decided to take on the kind-hearted challenge through his pal Colin Moore who has raised cash for the charity for many years.

"I got in touch with Mel Scholefield from the charity and she has been fantastic in terms of helping me out with lots of different things, such as sending running training tops and giving lots of advice about the fundraising," said Patrick.

If you wish to donate to Patrick's fundraising cause go to www.justgiving.com/fundraising/patrick-harwood2.