James recently completed a gruelling Continuous Deca Iron Triathlon to raise funds for Child Bereavement UK. James talks about what inspired him to raise funds for the charity and the help he has received during his fundraising.

I chose to raise money for Child Bereavement UK because of the great work they do supporting children who face bereavement and families who face the loss of a child.  Several years ago, Wendy, my wife, was herself bereaved when her brother died following a bike accident; he was just 18 years old. Child Bereavement UK did not exist at the time and her family were unable to access the sort of support available now. They had to navigate their own way through the grieving process. 

Wendy and her two sisters, Chloe and Nancy, marked the 20th anniversary of their brother’s death by running the London Marathon for Child Bereavement UK in his memory. Since then we have continued to support the charity through challenges and events.

I haven’t personally been supported by Child Bereavement UK as I haven’t had the need. However, my daughter, Maddy, spent the first six months of her life in three different hospitals being treated for several medical issues. We didn’t know whether she would survive so I can see how the support of Child Bereavement UK must be a godsend to bereaved families. Maddy will soon be 18 years old and she has had quite a journey.

In 2006 I was overweight, a drinker, smoker and very unhealthy. Then I completed my first triathlon and over the years the challenges have just grown. I would describe myself as an amateur endurance athlete and complete long-distance runs, triathlons, cycles and swims.

I choose to do a Continuous Deca Iron Triathlon to both test myself physically and mentally and, more importantly, to raise awareness and funds for my two chosen charities, Child Bereavement UK and Bigmoose. The event involves completing a 24-mile pool swim, 1120-mile bike ride and 262 mile run within 12 days. My aim was to complete the challenge within 10 days.

I thought that I would have a greater chance of drawing attention to the charities by completing an outrageous challenge, one that only around 200 people in the world have completed.

 I thought that I would have a greater chance of drawing attention to the charities by completing an outrageous challenge, one that only around 200 people in the world have completed. I thought that surely ten Ironman Triathlons in ten days would attract £1000 per Ironman distance, so that was the plan. 

Normally there is only one or two of these types of races in the world, mostly abroad.  They are very costly, so I set my own race up and created a website and dedicated social media accounts to spread the word and build a following, generate interest and raise funds for my two chosen charities.

It was an amazing, life-changing experience and has changed me for the better as a person. I feel blessed to have been able to take it on, let alone finish it! Something like this is so grounding and humbling.

It was challenging preparing for the race due to the amount of training involved and the fact that I did not want it to impact on my time with my family. I had to make sacrifices, getting up really early to train before anyone else got up so that I could spend time with my family, who were my inspiration. I didn’t want the challenge to take over my life and I managed to keep a really good balance.

The team at Child Bereavement UK has provided outstanding support. They were a listening ear, I could bounce ideas off them and get advice about fundraising. The charity assisted me with spreading the word via social media, in their weekly news shot and in the media.

The team at Child Bereavement UK has provided outstanding support. They were a listening ear, I could bounce ideas off them and get advice about fundraising. The charity assisted me with spreading the word via social media, in their weekly news shot and in the media.

Child Bereavement UK provided a branded kit for me to wear during the race, handouts to give out, balloons, banners, flags and a gazebo to set up at race HQ. I felt fully supported through the buildup, during and after the event. Lizee from the events team kept in touch during the buildup and training, which really motivated me.

If you are thinking of taking on a challenge to raise funds for Child Bereavement UK, do it!  They are a great team who will do anything for you to support you before, during and after the event.

If you are thinking of taking on a challenge to raise funds for Child Bereavement UK, do it!  They are a great team who will do anything for you to support you before, during and after the event. There is nothing more rewarding than challenging yourself physically and mentally, and pushing yourself out of your comfort zone in order to help others.  

You will go through difficulties whilst you do it, but what pushes you on is the fact that there are so many people out there worse off than you, this really motivates you. By pushing yourself and raising funds for Child Bereavement UK, you’ll make a real difference to someone’s life. That makes me happy!

You will go through difficulties whilst you do it, but what pushes you on is the fact that there are so many people out there worse off than you, this really motivates you. By pushing yourself and raising funds for Child Bereavement UK, you’ll make a real difference to someone’s life.  That makes me happy!