A BLACKBURN doctor is preparing to take on the London Marathon in memory of a fellow GP who lost his battle with cancer.

Dr Paul Fourie, of Witton Medical Centre, was inspired to raise cash for Pancreatic Cancer UK as his friend, Dr Michael Barsby, spent 18 months battling with the disease.

As reported in the Lancashire Telegraph, Dr Barsby lost his fight in November last year after high risk surgery to remove his tumour was unsuccessful.

Paul, 45, from Wilpshire, said: “When Mike was diagnosed a group of us decided to run the marathon and at that time there was an outside hope that he might have run with us, or at least been there cheering us on.

“It turned out that not only would he miss out, but I was the only one to secure a place, so I have been left holding the baton.

“Pancreatic Cancer UK helped Mike, his wife and three sons, and the family continue to fundraise so that the charity can fund research into this terrible cancer.”

Paul is already well on his way to reaching his fundraising target of £2,000, with nearly £700 in sponsorship cash already pledged.

And despite suffering a few pulled muscles in his initial training runs, Paul said he is now relishing the chance of running in the same event long-distance superstar Mo Farah on April 13.

The dad-of-three added: “Unfortunately it will not be a fair race, as Mo will get to start unhindered at the front, and I will be in amongst 35,000 other runners, all running for different reasons and charities.

“So far I have found it far harder than I ever imagined, but have kept going with the ever longer training runs, encouraged by the support I am getting from others.”

If you would like to sponsor Paul and follow his updates, visit his fundraising page: http://www.justgiving.com/paulfourie