A CLOSE friend of Scott Newman, who was found dead in Bishop's Stortford last July, will be running the London Marathon to raise money for the charity Defeating Deafness.

Andy Barnes, of Waytemore Road, said: "I decided after his death that I would run the 2001 London Marathon in his memory to raise money for a deafness charity."

Mr Barnes had known Mr Newman who had been partially deaf from his junior school days onwards and who was found in an alleyway off Riverside Walk with serious head injuries for about six years.

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They became friends at the Falcon pub in Station Road where they both worked.

Mr Barnes said: "He was a good friend of mine and we had only been back a few weeks from a holiday with others in Cyprus when this tragic incident took place.

"It was while on holiday that I took what was to be the last photograph of him and it was used by the police and the Citizen in covering his fatal attack.

"He was one of the most inoffensive people I have ever met. When he was killed it was a total shock there was no-one you would have expected it for less."

And he said his friend, who died at the age of 34, coped well with his deafness.

"He just got on with it. He was more interested in other people's problems than his own," said Mr Barnes.

Mr Newman's sister, Paula Chamberlain, who lives at the Cock Inn in Stansted Road, said of her brother: "He was a very chatty, very friendly, warm-hearted person. If he could help anyone he would. He was basically an all-round nice person."

Speaking about Mr Barnes, she said: "We're very pleased he's doing the marathon for Scott. He was a good friend to him and has been a good friend to the family since. We're quite overwhelmed by the amount he's done."

However, since deciding to run for Defeating Deafness, Mr Barnes has been given another personal reason to support the charity.

His only nephew, Taylor Steward, was born in October with severe hearing problems. The problem was discovered when doctors checked his hearing after seeing that his ear was folded over at birth.

Fortunately, because the problem was found so early, he is unlikely to have any speech problems.

Mr Barnes said: "He can hear with a hearing aid and will probably always have to wear one. He is wearing a hearing aid on a head band at the moment. But he is young and new things are being invented all the time. That's another reason why supporting Defeating Deafness is so important."

Anyone wishing to sponsor Mr Barnes can contact him on 01279 505238 or contact Defeating Deafness on 020 7833 1733.