I’m a complex, contrary chap so I have complex reasons for doing this thing, please bear with me while I try and explain what & why.

So I’ve entered this, a 3km swim in the sea at the end of September. For a 45 year old taxi driver who has been far less active over the past few years than he should be, this is no small matter. I could simply say that I need to swim more, but that would far too simple an answer. It’s a part of it, no doubt about it, but it’s actually a fairly minor reason. Want I really want to do is raise some money for charity by doing something that will hopefully make me a healthier person not just for a while but for the rest of my life. Why it’s taken me quite this long to get round to doing something like this is a discussion for another day, for now let me explain my motivation and talk about the people that have inspired me to take the plunge (terrible pun intended).

I will be raising money for 3 charities because there are 3 main inspirations compelling me to do this thing; British Heart Foundation, Cancer Research UK, and Scoliosis UK. You can donate via my Virgin Money page here.

First charity is British Heart Foundation because this coming January I will turn 46, the same age as my Dad when he died of a heart attack. Sobering stuff and a big factor in my commitment to be healthier, fitter and a bit less of an idiot about my health. Like me my Dad was a sports nut who would attempt anything, but specialised in rugby with his police pals and in later life attempted to turn himself into a centre forward for the police 10th XI football team. Think Andy Carroll, but without the skill or pace. I want to do something as a bit of a hat tip to him and, as you’ll see, I want to do something that recognises the fantastic grandchildren that he sadly never met.

I’m not part of a large family but those that I’ve got are all pretty special. A mum who seems like some sort of force of nature determined to live life in retirement with a zest & vigour that occasionally leaves me spinning in her wake. I’ve got an amazing wife who not only tolerates me but did this thing called giving birth which gave us the Cabbette (real name Esme) about whom I will speak more later. 2 brilliant sisters, in laws of the brother, sister, mother & father variety who are all on the right side of sane and finally 2 nephews (Luke and James) and a niece (Lily) who are all special beyond words. I am lucky to have all these people in my life, but it’s the younger generation that are my inspiration for doing this and are the ones that I hope will encourage you to dig deep into your pockets. So get ready for the big money pitch.

Those of you who know me, or followed me for a while on Twitter, will know that the health of 2 of the aforementioned children hasn’t been perfect, he says with crushing British understatement. In 2010 my nephew Luke was diagnosed with throat cancer and underwent a gruelling course of radiation and chemotherapy to try and reduce the size of the cancer as it was too big to operate on. This vital, happy, sensitive boy became a shadow of his former self physically but remained stronger than you can imagine to fight the cancer and ultimately beat it. He remains in remission and is an inspiration to all those that know him. For him alone, the least I can do is thrash around in the sea for an hour to raise money for Cancer Research UK.

But, just in case I needed an extra nudge, my daughter Esme was diagnosed with Scoliosis just about a year ago. You can read about what scoliosis is here, but in short it is a curvature of the spine that seems to particularly affect young girls as they reach puberty. After thinking that Esme’s back looked a bit ‘wrong’ we took her to the Doctor and she was quickly diagnosed with a 40 degree ‘S curve’. Initially the prognosis was quite low key and as Esme was in no pain it was decided that her spine just needed ‘monitoring’. After further x-rays and referrals to the spinal specialists it was determined that Esme’s curve was severe enough that surgery was the only way to correct it. The surgery itself is a major op and Esme was still largely unaffected by the condition so there was no urgency to make any decision. But, unfortunately, that has not remained the case and as Esme’s curve has worsened the pain has increased and the decision to have the surgery has almost been made for us. So Esme is on the waiting list and will hopefully have the op some time in the summer as she’ll need 6 weeks to recover fully enough to return to school. It’s a major op on the spine, and contains all the horrible risks that any spinal surgery has. So a worrying time for all of us, but with a positive long term prognosis we know it’s the right thing to do. We have found Scoliosis UK extremely helpful as we try and find out more about Esme’s condition so they are the 3rd charity I’m collecting for.

So, what else can a chunky, middle aged taxi driver do? He can get off his lazy arse, do some proper training and try to raise as much money for charity as possible. And that, dear reader, is where you come in. I’ve no idea what a realistic target is for me to raise but as I’m trying to help 3 charities I thought about £300 each would be great so have put a target of £1000 on my Virgin Money page. But I’ll take whatever you can give, large or small donations. Thanks in advance and all that….

Donate here –


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