Mick's gruelling mountain challenge in memory of wife for Kettering hospice

Cransley Hospice cared for his wife Claire, who died in 2020

By Sam Wildman
Wednesday, 9th March 2022, 9:59 am
Updated Wednesday, 9th March 2022, 10:02 am

“You don’t realise until you’re in Cransley how important it is."

The words of loving husband and dad Mick Massey, who is raising money for Kettering's Cransley Hospice in memory of his wife Claire.

He is putting himself to the test, physically and mentally, by tackling one of the toughest challenges in the UK. On Saturday (March 12) Mick and some mates will be taking on the Fan Dance, a 24km ascent and descent of the Pen Y Fan peak in Wales which forms a part of the SAS selection training route.

Claire and Mick.

Born and brought up in Woodford, Mick was 30 when he met Claire in Irthlingborough where they married and brought up their son Mason.

It was July 2018 when Mick received an urgent phone call while he was on tour with the RAF reserves in Romania. Claire had found a lump in her breast and Mick was flown straight back to be with her and Mason.

Mick said: “Claire was doing really well with the treatment at first. But then it spread to her hip and her liver and then to the back of her eye. The doctors were no longer able to treat it and in November 2019, fun loving Claire lost her sight.

“Despite her blindness, Claire got to know all the nurses by their voices and they all took a shine to her. Everybody did - she was the best."

Claire was only 50 when she died on March 11, 2020. She had always been healthy and had never even smoked.

Mick heaped praise on staff at Cransley Hospice who cared for her.

He said: “All the staff were fantastic. I can’t praise them enough. Claire was the patient, but they still made time for me and Mason, always putting us at ease.

"They helped make a bed up in her room so that I could be there with her and they would always come and see us to check that we were doing okay.

“After she passed away it was tough, but Mason and I tried to get on with it as best we could."

Mick and a group of mates will be now attempting to conquer the punishing 24km Fan Dance, climbing Pen y Fan's west slope (facing Corn Du), before making their decent down the evil Jacob's Ladder to raise money for Cransley Hospice Trust and the Veterans charity as their way of saying thank you to the team that took care of his beloved Claire.

The gruelling 24km SAS selection route will test Mick and his team, made up of Ivan Benneyworth, John Lockham, Bryan Ford, Leigh Warren and John Phillips.

They are no strangers to hard physical challenges as RAF reservists and having served in the British Army - but attempting to complete the challenge in under four hours (the SAS usually complete it in four hours) is not going to be easy.

Mick added: “It was September last year, I was finding it hard, but my mates and I got together and we decided to do the Fan Dance in memory of Claire and for the veterans.

“I’ve been training up to it, walking 18 to 20 miles at weekends, which gives me a space to think."

Anyone can draw motivation and feel inspired by Mick's challenge as the team will be live broadcasting at various points along their journey.

To donate to Mick's fundraising page, visit https://www.justgiving.com/crowdfunding/claire-dave-in-memory.