Three farming couples from Ballymena, Co. Antrim, have signed up to take part in the eight-mile walking challenge at this year's Belfast City Marathon to raise support for Air Ambulance Northern Ireland (NI).

The couples - Judy and Jimmy Kin, Jenny and Gary Donald and Onagh and Willie Chesney - are all friends and come from farming backgrounds.

During the lockdowns, they got together to start walking in a bid to get fit and healthy.

"Us three dads decided it was time to improve our fitness and walking seemed the best starting point, challenged by our wives we’ll see who is fittest first," said Willie Chesney.

"Doing the marathon walk in support of Air Ambulance NI has given us all a great focus and hopefully, we will raise funds that will be so useful to Air Ambulance NI to help them with the fabulous work they do.”

(L-R) Oonagh Chesney and friends Judy King and Jenny Donald

Willie's wife Oonagh, who is a member of the Agribusiness Group at Air Ambulance NI, added that "we never know when someone near to us may need the services of Air Ambulance NI, so let’s all try and raise some very valuable funds".

On the day the crew will be joined by Air Ambulance NI agribusiness group members Martyn Blair and Barclay Bell, and they are encouraging others to 'change their wellies for walking shoes' and join them on Sunday, May 1.

"Walking is a great way to clear away the stresses of everyday life and we would really like to encourage as many as possible to take up the challenge and enter the marathon walk – its only eight miles," Oonagh added.

Registration for those interested must be completed by Friday, April 8.