A RUNCORN great grandad is embarking on a 100-mile marathon in memory of his late wife.

John Timms, 75, will be joining his son Dave, 50, and friend Derek Gates, 64, walking for six days along five canals from Birmingham to The Brindley.

The trio will return on May 14, the day before the first anniversary of 71-year-old Marian’s death.

Sadly, the great gran didn’t live to see the birth of her fourth grandchild, Felicity last September.

The couple were married for 52 years.

Retired chef John is completing the challenge to thank St Luke’s Care Home in Palacefields for looking after her so well.

“They were absolutely brilliant. I can’t speak highly enough of them.

“They not only cared for Marian but looked after me and all our family.

“I go back every week."

Mum-of-three Marian was disabled and developed dementia three years ago.

She was a volunteer welfare officer and helped people with multiple sclerosis.

John cared for her at home until her condition deteriorated.

St Luke’s has been hailed as a model for dementia after creating a 1950s kitchen, seaside themed area, pub, cinema and indoor gardens to stimulate nostalgia, happy memories and conversation.

“Marian loved it there,” said John.

“I miss her terribly but I feel a sense of relief that she isn’t suffering.

“Dementia is so cruel.”

Marian’s granddaughter, Anna, 18, said: “St Luke’s has been an amazing support for my grandad.

“They continue to do amazing work every day and we feel that this should be recognised.”

The trio is also raising funds for Halton Radio where Derek Gates is a volunteer presenting programmes and visiting patients at Halton Hospital.

Derek, 64, of Picow Farm Road, volunteers with John to run active walks for residents around Halton.

“We want to spread information on the work these two charities do for our local community," said Derek.

A charity night and football match have already raised £1,000.

To support the canal walk visit uk.virginmoneygiving.com/team/5canalwalk16