A FIREFIGHTER is taking to the streets to help people who have suffered brain injuries.

John Purdy, of Whaggs Lane, Whickham, Gateshead, who is a firefighter at Newcastle Airport, is running in the London Marathon on April 13 to raise money for brain injury charity Rehab UK.

The charity's centre in Melbourne Street, Newcastle, has been threatened with closure because of a shortage of funds.

A Rehab UK spokesman said: "There is an acute shortage of help for people with brain injuries.

"Improved neuro-surgical techniques mean that 90 per cent of people who suffer serious brain injuries now survive - 20 years ago most died.

"Medical successes have led to a growing number of people with residual problems.

"Our Tyneside centre is designed to help people with brain injuries to retrain, refocus and then get them back into employment."