Firefighter Newton Lou Willows runs the Manchester Marathon for his father !

Full details aboutirefighter Newton Lou Willows runs the Manchester Marathon for his father

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A firefighter from Newton-le-Willows signed up for the Manchester Marathon in memory of his father.

Stephen McCann will run the marathon to raise money for the British Heartoundation as he hopes to raise awareness of heart disease. A condition later suffered by his father, who is also called Stephen.

His father passed away last April, at the age of 61, while undergoing heart surgery.

Stephen, 35, has praised the BHF’s work and said that if it weren’t for the charity’s funded research, they would have lost his father years ago.

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Stephen said: “He had an operation on his heart known as ablation surgery but it did not go as planned and he unfortunately died on the operating table.

“My father has had a history of heart problems since he had his first heart attack when he was 32.

Then he had two more heart attacks, and eventually a defibrillator was implanted with an implantable defibrillator.

“This happened one night last year and it shocked him 22 times in one episode. He later had a fourth heart attack and stroke before dying of grief during an operation last year.

“But even so, had it not been for the Guest Houseoundation and the research it funded, we would have lost it years ago.

“So that’s why I’m doing this for the charity; I just want to give back.”

St. Helens Star: Stephen is pictured with his dadStephen photographed with his father (Image: British Heartoundation)

The father, who also ran a marathon in 2021, said his preparation for the race has been going well so far and he’s been sticking to a training plan as often as his shifts at the fire station allow.

His teammates were all very supportive and encouraged him to improve his time of three hours and 59 minutes from last year.

He also said he would encourage anyone considering signing up to go for it.

St Helens Star: Stephen also ran the Manchester Marathon in 2021Stephen also ran the Manchester Marathon in 2021 (Image: British Heartoundation)

The firefighter added: “I know it sounds cliche but it’s a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity if you get the chance to run a marathon.

“The atmosphere is great, people just keep going, clapping, handing out sweets, helping keep your energy levels up, things like that, and when you’re done, the relief is incredible.

“It’s one of the hardest things I’ve ever done – but it was worth it.”

Ellie Maines, Events Director at the BHF, said: “We are incredibly proud of the research conducted by the scientists we fund, but also incredibly grateful to people like Stephen who have raised much-needed funds to pay for this research.

“We know heart disease is a big killer – someone dies from heart or circulatory disease every two hours on Merseyside alone – so I’m sure Stephen’s father would have been proud of what his son is doing to help ensure fewer people go through heartbreak than he and his family did.”

There are still places available to run in the Manchester Marathon for the British Heartoundation. ind out more on the BHF website.

To sponsor Stephen, visit