A MOSSLEY-BASED actor familiar to millions as a star of Coronation Street is going on the run for a cause inspired by his current storyline.
And Peter Ash hopes his little bit for a motor neurone disease charity can help lead to something far bigger, a cure.
The man also known as Paul Foreman can currently be seen living with the condition on the ITV soap.
And on Sunday, May 21, he will be running the Great Manchester Run as he raises funds for the Motor Neurone Disease Association (MNDA).
Playing someone diagnosed with MND and working with the charity as he researches his role has opened his eyes to what many people, including rugby league legend Rob Burrow, go through.
Now he is doing his bit by running the 10-kilometre event in aid of something he is now familiar with.
Peter, who has the fundraising target of £7,777 – after the Leeds hero’s squad number, said: “I decided to do the run after finding out I was doing the storyline. I wanted to help in any way I could. If that means raising a bit of money, great.
“Dan Brocklebank, who plays my partner in the show, is an MNDA ambassador – he’s done a lot for them over the years.
“I just wanted to do a little bit, what I could. It’s an amazing cause and hopefully I can raise awareness and money. Hopefully, one day down the line we can find a cure for it.
“We’ve had people post on social media that they’re either living with someone who’s living with it or they’re living with it themselves.
“It’s heartbreaking what it does to people and their families. There are no survivors’ stories from it, so MND isn’t as well known. Bringing awareness is very important.
“The feedback to the storyline has been amazing, quite overwhelming, that people are saying it’s good we’re bring awareness to it.
“Dan met someone on a night out and they said their father is living with it. So we popped along to a fundraiser in Salford – that was a lovely evening.
“It was nice to be able to do something like that, to show support. We’ve done a job well done if it’s resonating with people.”
Peter’s current storyline has meant longer working days on the Coronation Street set, meaning he has had to squeeze in training runs.
And living in Mossley, he has learned there is a shortage of flat roads.
He added: “It’s gone OK but to be honest, I’ve not got as much in as I’d have liked as I’ve been so busy at work with this storyline.
“This is probably the busiest I’ve been with a storyline. When other actors had a big storyline, I was always aware how busy they got.
“But until I started doing it myself, I didn’t realise quite how busy. This week, I’ve been in from 7am until 7pm.
“So I’ve been trying to fit runs in on my days off or at the weekend. Whenever I get a free hour basically, I’ll try and do a bit.
“And another thing is there are very few flat roads in Mossley! Going out for a run around here is up and down.
“Normally, I run up the road near me – once I get up that hill, there’s a flat bit, which is quite good. I just go as far as I can and hopefully that stands me in good stead.
“And running in the rain doesn’t bother me as it cools me down a bit. I prefer that to baking sun. When I’m in the beer garden, I like the sun. When I’m running, I like a bit of rain!
“But I’m confident I’ll complete it. As long as I get across the finish line, I’ll be happy.”
Peter is actually not the only person to have run the streets of Mossley with Rob Burrow in his mind. When Kevin Sinfield did his first challenge of seven marathons in seven days in 2020, part of his course took him almost past the actor’s doorstep.
And seeing what Burrow’s pal has done for his mate – raising more than £7.5 million and helping him over the finishing line of the marathon named after him – hit home.
Peter told the Correspondent: “What Kevin’s done has definitely inspired me. After finding out I was doing the storyline, I didn’t know much about MND.
“So I did my research and found out about Rob – read his book and watched the documentary about him.
“I’ve been following the story, what an inspiration.
“Rob said that after he was diagnosed, people were going to their doctor’s saying, ‘I think I might have the Rob Burrow disease.’ So it’s definitely opened up a talking point.
“And I saw the marathon when Kev carried Rob over the line. I was in bits, as I imagine most people who watched it were.
“We were very lucky that Rob and his wife came into the Coronation Street studios and Dan and I managed to speak to him, that was amazing.
“And Kevin ran through Mossley on his first challenge? Wow. Seven marathons in seven days, that’s just amazing.”
Now as running day looms, the 38-year-old has a target in mind – only not a time one. Just finishing will do him.
He said: “I first put my target as just over an hour. I’m thinking now it’ll be a bit more than that.
“I just want to get over the finish line. The last time I did 10k was 10 years ago, so it’s been quite a while and I’ve put on a bit of timber since then!”
YOU CAN donate to Peter’s fundraising effort by clicking https://greatmanchesterrun2023.enthuse.com/pf/peter-ash.