Three-generation Higham Ferrers fundraising family take on charity pedal, paddle and climb

Ain't no mountain high enough, ain't no river wide enough

Tuesday, 13th April 2021, 7:00 am

A Northamptonshire family is to take a tough outdoor challenge to fundraise for Muscular Dystrophy UK (MDUK), in memory of a friend who lived with a muscle-wasting condition.

Three generations of the Higham Ferrers Swailes-Hadley family will tackle the gruelling Pedal Paddle Peak, in a fundraising tribute to Richard Reid, as Team 'Three Generations Why?'

Starting with a 15-mile cycle, participants then take on a two-mile canoe paddle after which they climb the second highest peak in England, Helvellyn, finishing with another 15-mile bike ride.

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l-r Philip Hadley, Clare Hadley, Luke Swailes, and Julian Swailes.

Taking part will be Julian Swailes, who is retired, Julian’s daughter and son-in-law, Clare Hadley, 47, a chef, Philip Hadley, 46, who is self-employed, and his grandson, Luke Hadley, 20, an art student at Carlisle University.

Julian said: “For us it is not a race, just three sports joined together and we intend to have a good time. I am a triathlete so am happy with the different activities.

"Clare and Phil are runners so I think the climb up and down Helvellyn will be their cup of tea. Luke mainly trains in the gym, at his house in Carlisle at the moment, with his own weights. He is also a member of an indoor climbing club.

"None of us have had any real experience of canoeing, so that part will be interesting.”

This is the first major sporting challenge the family, calling themselves the Three Generations, has done together but felt drawn to the challenge after Clare's close childhood friend Richard died as a result of Duchenne muscular dystrophy.

Richard’s mum Frances became friends with Clare's mum Glynis Swailes soon after they had their babies.

Julian, who lives with Glynis and their son in Higham Ferrers, added: “As a family we all think it is very sad when a person dies so young. Richard was 18 years old when he died. He had lived with the knowledge, from an early age, that his condition would worsen. He had the best life possible with the help of his parents.

”The challenge came through on to my computer out of the blue and I remembered Richard, a young gentleman, a friend of my daughter and who was diagnosed with a form of muscular dystrophy early in his life. It seemed the right thing to do."

Duchenne muscular dystrophy is a serious muscle-wasting life-limiting condition caused by the lack of a protein called dystrophin. It usually affects only boys. Owing to the lack of the dystrophin protein, muscle fibres break down and are replaced by fibrous and or fatty tissue causing the muscle to weaken gradually.

Richard parents, Frances and Lionel Reid, now live near Abingdon. They said: “It is 30 years since Richard died from Duchenne muscular dystrophy and we are still waiting for a cure to be found. We were touched to learn that the Swailes family will be raising money for MDUK in Richard’s memory. As always money is needed for the research to continue.”

Kiera Santry, challenge events officer for Muscular Dystrophy UK, said: “It is great that Pedal Paddle Peak is back for 2021. It was developed by MDUK and involves one day of cycling, canoeing and climbing. The Swailes are a wonderful family group and we are so grateful to them for fundraising.”

Pedal Paddle Peak now in its fifth year will see 32 teams starting off from Penrith for a 15-mile tour around Ullswater Lake to take on a two-mile canoe paddle in two connected canoe raft.

Returning to the bikes to the base of Helvellyn for the ascent and descent of the 712 m (2,336 ft) mountain returning to Penrith with a 15-mile pedal to finish. The event takes on average eight to nine hours to complete half of which is the mountain section.

You can donate to Julian's fundraising by clicking here. The family will take part in the challenge on July 3.