Mental health workers took on an Ironman fundraising challenge so that hospital inpatients can enjoy Christmas.

Support worker Matthew Mullins and gym instructor Liam Greatrex both work at Forston Clinic in Dorchester, where many patients will be spending Christmas on the ward this year.

Inspired by the infamously gruelling Ironman triathlon event, the pair devised an indoor version of the race, enabling them to raise £325.70 to spend on festive food and gifts.

Mr Mullins said: "We work at a locked psychiatric unit - unfortunately lots of people don't get to go home, so we wanted to make it as pleasant and comfortable as possible.

"It can't be very nice being in hospital over Christmas - people do get quite upset and feel ashamed that they're in there. The fundraising will help pay for Christmas food and small gifts to lift their spirits a bit.

"It's something we've been doing for several years - last time we did a sponsored spinnathon, which raised enough money to buy new gym equipment for patients."

The sponsored challenge saw the pair cover 100 miles on an exercise bike and 26.2 miles on a running machine, before performing 4,500 shoulder presses to replicate the cycling, running and swimming elements of the race. Staff and patients were all invited to take part.

Mr Greatrex said: "The Ironman challenge seemed like a good way to raise money at the same time as giving people a reason to get active.

"The event was very successful, we managed to beat my target of £250 which means we can provide lots of nice goodies to raise people's spirits.

"Besides our annual fundraiser, this year we've been really fortunate to have Wagamama's on board - they will be cooking a Friday night dinner for patients during December.

"We were also able to hold a raffle, thanks to the generosity of local businesses who have contributed prizes.

"There's too many to name them all, but we'd like to let everyone involved know we're really grateful for their help."

To donate to the fundraiser contact