WHITEABBEY’S very own marathon man, Ray Davies made a welcome return to his fundraising exploits for the Northern Ireland Children’s Hospice on New Year’s Eve.
Ray, who has raised more than £10,000 for the children and young people at Horizon House since beginning a series of charity challenges in 2003, completed 26.2 miles on a cross trainer at DW Sports Fitness on Monday morning - just six months after suffering a potentially life-threatening stroke.
Since his health problems in June, which left him temporarily paralysed down one side of his body, the 59-year-old civil servant has shown great determination and powers of recovery to fight back to full health.
“When I was taken to the Royal Victoria Hospital after suffering the stroke I was paralysed down the right side of my body, but thankfully due to my exercise and fitness I recovered well and I’m a very lucky man,” he told the Times.
When he suffered the stroke, fitness fanatic Ray had been in training for an epic charity challenge - 17 cross trainer marathons in as many days during the Olympic Games.
“A lot of people had donated money and pledged sponsorship for the 17 marathons in 17 days, so I didn’t want to let them down and decided to try to get fit enough to complete a marathon before the end of the year,” he explained.
“My consultant initially advised me not to do it, but when I went back to him he said that I could go ahead just as long as I took it easy and stopped if I didn’t feel right or felt dizzy.
“I did it in one hour 50 minutes, a bit slower than my previous times, but it went really well and I felt great at the end of it.”
Ray, who covered 2,700km in training for his latest challenge, is hoping his efforts will raise £1,000 for the Hospice.
“I’ve raised about £500 so far, but there are a lot of sponsor forms still out and a lot of money still to come in. I know things are tough for people at the minute and it’s a difficult time for people in terms of the economic situation so I might not make the target, but it would be great for the Children’s Hospice if I could hit the magic £1,000 mark,” he added.
Anyone who would like to support Ray in his fundraising efforts can still do so by logging on to www.justgiving.com/Ray-Davies0.