Rail men in cap­i­tals challenge for char­ity

Midweek Visiter - - News -

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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