Rail men in capitals challenge for charity
EIGHT men who work on the railway are embarking on their second rail odyssey in a bid to raise money for sufferers of a painful disease.
Stephen Ward, from Formby, and Andy Iles, from Ainsdale, have been part of the project from day one.
The first challenge for the group – The 8 Bighearted Railwaymen – took them around Europe by rail, in a fundraising mission for the British Heart Foundation and Yorkshire Air Ambulance.
Now they aim to reach all five capital cities around the British Isles, using only rail and sea transport. Stephen says: “Our first challenge was to raise money for the British Heart Foundation and Yorkshire Air Ambulance as two of our team members, Chris and Dave, had heart issues.”
Dave had been rescued by air ambulance a couple of years earlier and Chris’s heart problems came to light a couple of months before the challenge, so was un-able to take part that time.
After the success of the first challenge – 3,000 miles around Europe in three days, using only rail – the group decided they would pick another charity and do it again.
Many members of the group suggested at first to raise money for treatment for a member who was diagnosed with a rare nerve disorder – Complex Regional Pain Syndrome, or CRPS – six years ago.
Their friend ultimately persuaded the group to fundraise instead, however, for a charity, Burning Nights, which aims to support sufferers of CRPS and their carers.
So, what is CRPS? Put simply: You’re in pain – forever.
What’s worse is that anyone can get this at anytime, yet so few know about it and the group hope to change this by creating awareness.
You can end up with CRPS after an accident, or surgery gone wrong, or a simple injury can cause damage to the nerves.
Your body heals and what’s supposed to happen is a message from the injury to the brain tells you when it’s all fixed. With CRPS, that message never gets there, the pain never leaves, and over time grows.
CRPS is the most painful experience known to man. Sufferers say it is greater than a broken bone or even childbirth but it is constant and with you for the rest of your life.
In many cases, it spreads to other limbs and other parts of the body, and in extreme cases it requires the affected limb to be removed.
November is CRPS awareness month, which is why the group are attempting the challenge from November 13-15.”
The team will attempt to pass through all five British Isles capitals by using only rail and sea, travelling the long way round with a deadline of three days.
Their route is: Liverpool – Cardiff – Fishguard – Rosslare – Dublin – Belfast – Cairnryan – Ayr – Glasgow – Edinburgh – London – Norwich – Peterborough – York – Liverpool!
The team this time is made up of: Andy Iles, Chris Iles, Steve Gamble, Paul Fletcher and Stephen Ward.
The new fundraising mission, left, organised by the 8 Bighearted Railwaymen; and, right, the cheque from their first challenge – a 3,000-mile rail odyssey in Europe – is presented to the Yorkshire Air Ambulance
Bighearted Railwaymen Steve Gamble, Paul Fletcher, Dave Graham, Mark Wood, Stephen Ward, Stephen Walker and Andy Iles, on the platform after completing their European fundraising mission
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