Sprowston Emma’s following in her dad’s footsteps

For young Emma Ferris, following in her dad's footsteps by pounding her way across the London Marathon finish line has always been a dream.

She was just three years old when he ran his last marathon shortly before he was diagnosed with debilitating multiple sclerosis, which has left him in a wheelchair.

So when 52-year-old Neil Ferris took a turn for the worse last week, Emma decided she had to do it this year and, with the help of a friend, plans to complete the gruelling 26-mile course in just 10 weeks' time.

The 21-year-old, of Terence Avenue in Sprowston, said: 'After I spoke to my dad and he said he had had a relapse, I decided I had to do the marathon while he would still be able to come and watch.

'I do not like running and I don't run, but it is one of those things that I feel I have to complete. I will get over that finish line one way or another,' she said.

She is running with friend and Prince of Wales Road Premier Inn colleague Jordan Kemp. The pair plan to fit in a gruelling training regime in between shifts.

Mr Ferris, 52, said: 'When I first heard Emma planned to do the marathon I thought 'great', but then I thought 'has she thought long and hard about this?' There are no short cuts.

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'I just loved running. The end is so satisfying. You are so pleased with yourself and you are on such a high. It is just a fantastic feeling.'

He said it was one of the things he missed most when he became ill.

'It was a lovely way to blow out. If you had been working and had a gruelling day, you could just shut down and run. You didn't have to worry about anything.'

Mr Ferris said he hoped to be there to watch his daughter. He now relies on a wheelchair and doctors have said he is unlikely to get better.

The pair now have to raise �2,000 each for the Multiple Sclerosis Society.

If you would like to sponsor Emma and Jordan go to www.justgiving.com/jordan-emma

Are you doing a sporting event for a cause close to your heart? Contact reporter Annabelle Dickson on 01603 772426 or e-mail annabelle.dickson@archant.co.uk.