You know someone is aiming to complete a tough event when they are using marathons for training, but that is what paramedic Mark Ransom is doing.
Bury St Edmunds-based Mark, 46, is doing a marathon this weekend before ‘tapering down’ his training prior to the Samphire 100 ‘ultramarathon’ – a 100 mile event involving 27 laps of the Samphire Hoe nature reserve at the base of Dover’s white cliffs.
He is no stranger to Samphire Hoe, which was created with soil from the Channel Tunnel, having swum the Channel from there in 2008.
“I’m hoping to be the first to have started a Channel swim there and don the 100,” he said.
He is doing it to raise money for an ambulance for the new charity the Ambulance Wish Foundation, which is based on a Duich charity started by a paramedic in Holland which enables dying people to have their last wish, whether it is a last trip to the seaside or the chance to be at a loved one’s wedding.
Mark said: “Working as a paramedic you come into contact with terminally ill people and when I heard of this organisation I though ‘what a wonderful idea’.
“Someone in their last days, who is bed bound, can be taken somewhere they’ve always wanted. It’s not just good for the person, it’s for all their family.
“But you have to have a specially equipped ambulance and the trained staff to take them.”
The aim is to buy the foundation its first purpose-built vehicle but Mark stressed: “Being a new charity, it needs all the help it can get.”
The UK foundation was begun in Bury St Edmunds in November when the Dutch founder Kees Veldboer visited to talk to British volunteers, including ambulance staff based in the town.
He started it in Holland after an ambulance delay for cancer patient Mario Steffanutto led to Kees asking what he would like to do while waiting. Mr Stefanutto, a former sailor, asked if he could be taken to the Vlaardingen canal so that he could say one last goodbye to the sea.
You can find out more about the charity, and donate to it, on its Go Fund Me page at www.gofundme.com
To help with the charity, call its Bury organiser Alice Berill on 07788 547570