A GROUP of Glasgow firefighters have banded together to complete a gruelling two-day fitness challenge for a colleague hit with a shock diagnosis.

The group of 12 hikers travelled around the UK from Glasgow this week taking on the Three Peaks Challenge to raise money to support well-known fireman Brian MacDonald, who was diagnosed with motor neurone disease (MND) earlier this year.

An incurable and life-shortening illness, MND sees messages from the motor neurones gradually stop reaching the muscles, leading the muscles to weaken, stiffen and waste.

Glasgow Times: Brian MacDonaldBrian MacDonald

Brian, from Swinton, was given the shocking news in February that he was living with MND after reporting some weakness in his limbs at work.

Shortly afterwards a fundraiser was launched by friends of the 42-year-old to help him financially with the realities of living with the disease.

He said: “I was a firefighter for 13 years, including 12 years at Govan.

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“I was forced to go off because of a weakness in my arm and, when the investigation came back, I was diagnosed with MND.

“It has now affected the full left hand side of my body and I’m now struggling to walk.

“I’ve got a lot of good colleagues in the fire brigade but I am looking to get medical retirement as I am still employed.

Glasgow Times: BrianBrian

“A lot of the boys involved are ones who were recruits I helped get experience.”

Six months on, Brian is off work but his colleagues decided to take on the challenge in his name, helping raise funds to support him.

On Monday evening, the group set off on Ben Nevis, taking on the peak and completing it just after sunset.

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They then travelled overnight to the north of England to take on Scafell Pike in the early morning darkness, before completing the mountainous feat by reaching the summit of Snowden in Wales.

James Donald, 28, is one of the firefighters who works with Brian who took part in the challenge.

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He said the journey was pretty grim, but was glad to be able to help those living with MND, a disease which killed his own grandfather.

The Polmadie fireman added: “We are all pretty tired now.

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“I have been a firefighter for 10 years and worked with Brian when he was at Govan. 

“We were looking at setting up a challenge to do for charity and found out he’d need some help.

“Money should be the least of his problems at the moment. A friend of his had set up a fundraiser and we piggy-backed onto that.

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“It was difficult and we even lost the path in the dark on Scafell Pike for a while, but we are all really chuffed.”

Following the completion of the challenge, the fundraiser, which initially aimed to raise £5,000, has now surpassed this and edges towards the £6,000 mark.

This money will help Brian as he continues his journey living with MND.

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Brian added: “I am looking to move back to Oban and hope to get a home up there. I’ve got family up there who can help.

“It is sad but really, I’m not keeping the best.”

If you would like to donate to help Brian, visit the JustGiving page, or to find out more or donate to those living with MND, click here