A COMMUNITY is rallying together in support of a father-of-three who has recently faced a shock diagnosis of a life-limiting neurological condition.

Dozens of Barrovians have shown their support to 58-year-old sports technician Peter Fell, of Aspen Drive, Barrow who was diagnosed with Motor-Neurons Disease two weeks ago.

Motor neurone disease, or MND, is an umbrella term for a group of diseases which affect the body’s nervous system.

Every patient experiences different symptoms of MND but broadly it will affect their ability to walk, talk and eventually how they eat, drink and breathe.

News of the diagnosis left the family ‘absolutely heartbroken’, according to 29-year-old daughter Kirsten Bennett.

She said: “We’re such a close family that it really was the worst day of our lives.

“I didn’t know a huge deal about the disease but I knew it wasn’t a great diagnosis.

“Currently he’s still in the early stages and needs support walking but he’s kept his humour and sarcastic self.”

Mrs Bennett, who was raised in Barrow but now lives in Suffolk, said despite his diagnosis, her father continues to see the brighter side of life.

She said: “He’s so humorous and sarcastic but also an extremely loving person, he’s my inspiration.

“I’ve learnt so much from him and really from how him and mum have brought us up.

“He’s a family man, his priority has always been family.”

As well as her father’s unwavering spirit, Mrs Bennett has been ‘overwhelmed’ by the support of the local community.

She said: “This is one of the hardest things to ever go through but it makes it somewhat easier knowing we have an army of people behind us.

Leading the community campaign is Mr Fell’s colleague and friend of more than 30 years, Paul Stanway.

The pair worked together at the South Cumbria Pupil Referral Unit as well as coached the Barrow AFC under-18s squad.

Mr Stanway said: “Pete is the life and soul of any situation.

“He’s always cracking jokes and knows everyone in the community. We’re all absolutely devastated, it’s awfully sad news for everyone.”

Following Mr Fell’s diagnosis, however, Mr Stanway thought it was important to help support the family.

“We decided to try and raise some money for some specialist equipment so the family can continue making their life memories together.

“It didn’t take long for the community to jump on the fundraising which is testament to the sort of character Pete is.”

Within five days, Mr Stanway’s Just Giving page had already raised £2,000 towards their £5,000 target for specialist equipment.

As well as this, Mr Stanway has arranged a series of fundraising events including a charity concert featuring Barrow band Channel Surfers at Furness Cricket Club on May 18. To donate, visit www.justgiving.com/crowdfunding/fellysfund.