22nd May 2018
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Duathletes raise £8,000 in memory of Jake, 11

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Over 70 people took part in Shetland’s much-anticipated duathlon at the weekend, helping raise more than £8,000 for the Children’s Hospice Association Scotland (CHAS).

The event was staged by Shetland Triathlon Club, which renamed its duathlon championships in memory of 11-year-old Jake Porter who died in November after battling with Infantile Battens Disease. Triathlon club member Gemma Passmore had helped Jake through her work as a physio with NHS Shetland.

The club’s treasurer and coach, Ewan Stirling, said the event had been a great success

“I think there were a lot of people who had never, ever contemplated doing a multi-sport event, and it was brilliant to see people trying and giving it a go. It was pretty incredible,” he said.

“A lot of us in the club know [Jake’s parents] Craig and June very well. And Gemma worked with Jake. It was just felt it was a very good cause and, as a memorial for Jake, it was a good way to remember him.

“Mum and Dad took part, very impressively I must admit. It was a tough ask and they attacked it with fine style.”

The challenge started off with a 2.1 mile run from Tingwall Hall. Competitors then had to jump on their bikes for a 13.5 mile cycle, before running another 2.1 miles. Photographs of the event will be included in Friday’s Shetland Times.

Mrs Porter said it was important to her that CHAS benefited from the event. During his life Jake made many visits to Rachel House in Kinross, one of two children’s hospices run by the charity.

“From our own experience … everybody has different images in their head about what a childrens’ hospice provides,” she said.

“For us, we made use of it several times in the last four or five years of Jake’s life. It was such a friendly, welcome and happy place.

“We used it on numerous occasions. We could go down for a weekend, or down for a number of days. It provided respite for us, too. Jake got good care while he was there and it allowed us to go and do things.

“It’s a lifeline for some families. With us being so far away, we made good use of it. When we went down we took the chance to go and do bits and pieces when we kent that Jake was being cared for by a fantastic team of professionals.

“I would probably speak for most families in saying it was a ‘home from home’ type of atmosphere.”

She added the £8,000 that had been raised was a “fantastic” figure.

CHAS’ regional fundraiser manager for the north of Scotland, Stephen Hart, said the response to the event was “almost overwhelming”.

“We have been overwhelmed by the response of the community. It’s a testament to the hard work put in by June and Craig Porter, Gemma Passmore, and the esteem they are obviously held in by the community.

“As a hospice association we do need to raise £8 million-plus every year to keep these services running, and we are delighted by the help and recognition that the community have given to us, and also the warmth that I personally received yesterday.”

About Ryan Taylor

Ryan Taylor has worked as a reporter since 1995, and has been at The Shetland Times since 2007, covering a wide variety of news topics. Before then he reported for other newspapers in the Highlands, where he was raised, and in Fife, where he began his career with DC Thomson. He also has experience in broadcast journalism with Grampian Television. He has lived in Shetland since 2002, where he harbours an unhealthy interest in old cars and motorbikes.

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