A FOOTBALL fan from Helensburgh is hoping to net a healthy fund-raising total by completing a charity challenge on Christmas Day.

Denis Beattie, who was born in Portsmouth but now lives in the Kirkmichael area with wife Ali, will walk more than 23 miles from Ibrox Stadium to the Burgh on December 25 in aid of Samaritans and the Stroke Association.

The lifelong Rangers and Chelsea supporter was given a scare earlier this year when he suffered a transient ischemic attack (TIA), otherwise known as a mini stroke.

Advised by doctors to change his lifestyle or face further health problems, 51-year-old Denis is now reaping the rewards of a more active routine and he is keen to help others, starting with this month’s sponsored walk.

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He told the Advertiser: “I had a TIA on August 5 and was told by my doctor in the Royal Alexandra Hospital, after spending five days there, and at the Vale of Leven Hospital, to change my lifestyle.

“I quit the cigarettes after smoking for 30-odd years and I was told to stop drinking energy drinks and start doing some exercise if I wanted to see my 80s rather than my 60s.

“I stopped drinking four years ago this month and put what's been suggested to me to good use.

“I decided to walk a marathon in Easter for the Stroke Association but a month later I was feeling fit enough to bring it forward.

“Christmas is such a wonderful time for most of us, but for thousands of others it's a depressing and stressful time so I decided to do it for the Samaritans as well.

“What better day to choose than Christmas Day to raise awareness of both these wonderful charities?”

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Denis, who has lived in Helensburgh and Rhu for 50 years, has been invited in to Ibrox Stadium by Rangers before he sets off on his journey and he has already surpassed his £1,000 goal.

He said: “I wanted to walk a marathon but as a lifetime Rangers fan I decided to leave from Ibrox.

“The route I'll take is roughly 23.5 miles so it’s not too far off it.

“I've never done any sponsored walks before and never really walked at all before my TIA in August.

“The furthest I've walked since then is only 13 miles, but I'm hoping to do more over the next couple of weeks.”

More than £1,100 has been donated so far. To add a contribution, visit https://uk.virginmoneygiving.com/DenBeattie.

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