Wellingborough and Rushden men to take on Grand Union Canal pedalo challenge

Luke and Russ in training
Luke and Russ in training

A daring duo are preparing for their latest fundraising challenge.

Luke Barker, of Wellingborough, and Russ Palmer, of Rushden, will attempt to navigate the Grand Union Canal from Birmingham to London – on a pedalo.

The duo are taking on the challenge in memory of Luke’s children Freddie and Jasmine, who died as babies.

In 2012 Luke’s first child Jasmine was stillborn, an event which changed his world forever.

He has since set out to ensure that Jasmine left an imprint on the hearts of people all over the country and has completed challenges such as the Great North Run in 2013 and cycled from John O Groats to Land’s End with Russ, unsupported and camping along the way.

Luke, who has a three-year-old son, Joel, has tried to remain positive about life.

However, in a heartbreaking turn of events this year he lost a son, Freddie.

The impact after losing two children has really hit him hard he says that the heartache he feels on a daily basis is incredible and difficult to explain.

He said: “If it was not for the love of my wife and son I may have found this too much to cope with.

“In every family there is that uncle who is a bit mad, and Russ is that man.

“Following the loss of Freddie it was his idea that we do an event in Freddie’s memory and the 137-mile trip from Birmingham to London on a pedalo was born.

“During the challenge we will not be able to go through the 166 locks and long tunnels, instead we will have to carry the pedalo around and back – a challenge in itself!

“Added to the travelling at about 2mph for 11 days it truly is an incredible challenge.”

The awesome twosome, along with family and friends, will be raising money for Sands UK and Children are Butterflies Charities.

Sands is the leading Stillborn and Neonatal death charity in the UK, it works hard to reduce the number of stillbirths and early deaths and it has made considerable impact with the average number of babies dying each day in the UK down from 17 to 15.

It also provides memory boxes and local groups for bereaved parents to ensure they have the help and support that is so often needed.

Children are Butterflies is a charity founded in Northampton.

It helps to ensure that families receive financial and emotional support when it comes to arranging funerals for children nationally.

It also offers a support network and holds annual events such as the beautiful butterfly release.

For more information on the challenge, which begins on May 19, visit floatforfreddie.co.uk or like on Facebook.