Get Active Hero: Anna Dingle

‘As a triathlete, I decided to do something to help raise funds for St Wilfrid’s after they took care of my mum, Carole Gardiner, at the end of her life. Mum had pancreatic cancer and end stage Parkinson’s and was admitted to the hospice in November 2019. From that day onwards, the staff and volunteers were nothing but supportive and helpful in what were really difficult and challenging circumstances for Mum, for us as a family but also for them in caring for mum’s complex needs. We all watched, helplessly at times, as the staff worked tirelessly and lovingly to make Mum as comfortable as possible. I promised myself one evening whilst sitting next to mum, that I would do something to just say thanks for everything the hospice staff had done for her.

I planned doing a reverse elongated Ironman. I entered the Spitfire Scramble in Hornchurch, Essex which was a 24hr team running event, and I already had a entry in the Ride London 100 to cycle 100 miles and finally I entered the 2 mile Swim Serpentine and set out to raise sponsorship.

Mum died on 23 February 2020 after 2 comfortable weeks in a specialist care home that the hospice had supported us in moving her to. We weren’t able to bring her home as her needs were too complex. At this time we had just started to hear about Covid 19 and lockdown came on the day of mum’s funeral on 23 March. Soon all of the events I wanted to do were cancelled. I am not a person who is deterred easily and also I had promised myself and mum that I would do something to thank the hospice.  So, in April I did a duathlon in my back garden, using my turbo and my daily exercise allowance. I then organised a 100 mile cycle ride to Southend and back with friends in August after lockdown eased a bit and finally I organised to swim the 2 mile Swim Serpentine at Redricks Lake on the date that it was originally due to take place. So despite all obstacles in my way, I still managed to keep my promise and raise funds for St Wilfrid’s and it was a lot of fun in the process.

Thank you St Wilfrid’s for looking after all of us in the most difficult of circumstances. We and mum, can’t thank you enough.’

- Anna Dingle