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Lymington teenager Ted supports Julia’s House with sports marathon

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Ted Ward (pictured right) finishing his 19-hour sports marathon for Julia's House.
Ted Ward (pictured right) finishing his 19-hour sports marathon for Julia's House.

Lockdown has inspired Lymington 15-year-old, Ted Ward to embark on 19 hours of continuous exercise to make up the shortfall of missing fundraising for Julia’s House, the Dorset and Wiltshire children’s hospice charity, due to Covid-19.

Under normal circumstances, Priestlands’ student Ted would be gearing up to take his GCSE’s next month, but like many others, he is stuck at home trying to work out what comes next for him.

Keen to have a focus and an avid sports-lover, Ted decided he needed an exercise challenge to raise funds for a charity close to home.

Listening to his aunt and incoming Director of Care at Julia’s House, Claire Hudson-Cooper talk of the challenges and uncertainty her charity were facing, due to the significant drop in fundraising income because of the Coronavirus pandemic, on a Zoom call one night, he decided to do something to help.

No newcomer to fundraising, at age 13, Ted and a group of like-minded swimming enthusiasts took on the ‘Solent Swim’, swimming from Yarmouth to Sowley shore, to raise a fabulous £15,000 for the Piam Brown Children’s Ward at Southampton Hospital in memory of their friend Lizzie Murt, who died of cancer in 2015, at just 13.

Ted explained: “It was great to raise so much money, so I thought if I could do something for 19 hours – because of Covid-19 – then perhaps I could help someone else.”

“My auntie Claire helped to launch Julia’s House in Wiltshire, offering respite care and support to families caring for children with life-threatening or life-limiting conditions.

“With major events cancelled or postponed and their shops closed, their fundraising has been severely affected by COVID-19, but they’re still out caring for children and families during the crisis, supporting the NHS, so they were the obvious choice.”

With hospices in Dorset and Wiltshire, Julia’s House provides respite and support to families either in their own homes, in the community or at one of their hospices. Under normal circumstances, they are 95% funded by the general public, with fundraising events and activities vital.

But, just like many charities, they are suffering due to the lockdown and social distancing restrictions. Julia’s House recently welcomed government support for hospices, but without knowing how long this support will continue nor how long the lockdown will last, the situation continues to be challenging.

Kicking off his 19-hour marathon at 5 am, Ted started with a Zwift indoor cycling session, followed by Yoga, Pilates and Chi sessions with family via Zoom, home-made circuits around the garden and house, dance-fit, garden tennis, a 10km run for his one hour allocated exercise, Joe Wick’s PE, a much-needed stretch class via Zoom with his uncle Will and then back on the bike until midnight.

Ted confided: “I hit a real low point 10 hours in, but then we did a Joe Wicks PE class, and it gave me the energy boost I needed to keep going. Thanks to Christchurch-based precisionhydration.com too, who generously supplied electrolyte supplements to help through the day.

“My family have been amazing, Dad cycling and running alongside me all day and my mum and sister joining in throughout the 19-hour ordeal too. I even ate my meals while cycling!

“The support has already been phenomenal, with donations reaching £6,157, which is amazing but if we could get it to £6,500, I would be so, so proud!”

Claire commented: “£3,000 pays for 30 hours of care during the coronavirus crisis, so obviously the more we raise, the more help and support we can provide to local children and families – we’re often a lifeline of care.

“We’re incredibly proud and grateful to Ted and his family for choosing to do this for Julia’s House. We still can’t believe how much they’ve raised.”

When asked how Ted felt the next day, in typical teen style, he shrugged: “Yeah I’m fine. My calves are a bit tight!”

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