Wednesday, May 29, 2024

Rolls-Royce runners go above and beyond for local families

Two Rolls-Royce employees are gearing up for an epic sponsored 100 mile run in 24 hours to enable local children who have faced extreme trauma in their young lives to enjoy a seaside holiday with their families this summer.

James Spray and Matt Shillcock are taking on the challenge to raise money for Revive charity in Chaddesden which supports some of the most under privileged and vulnerable children and families in the local area.

The charity is taking a group of 30 children, parents and siblings on holiday to Butlins this August and are busy fundraising to give the families a holiday of a lifetime.

James and Matt are planning to run the 100 miles between the company’s site in Wilmore Road and Skegness in just 24 hours to help fund the trip.

James (45) works in the Turbines division and former soldier Matt (36) is a member of the team at Assembly and Test at Rolls-Royce.

As well as being members of local running clubs, Mickleover RC and Sinfin RC, they are both Livewell champions at the company and are busy training for the epic challenge which they have named #SAS Skegness to run between Wilmore Road and Skegness town centre on Friday July 26.

As experienced marathon runners, they have stepped up their training to around 50-60 miles a week, including night running.

On the day, their kit has been sponsored by Derby Runner and they will be accompanied by a support van manned by Rolls-Royce colleagues to ensure they take in enough food and water and deal with any injuries.

James and his colleagues in the Turbine and Rotatives division have supported Revive since 2016 and he was keen to use his 15 years’ experience of running to raise money for the Revive trip.

He has previously completed ten marathons in ten days, a 100 mile challenge and competed in Ironman triathlon events.

James explained: “I have seen the fantastic work that Revive does in this community and the positive difference it has made to the lives of so many families in this part of the city.

“100 miles is a long way to drive and cycle but it is a totally different matter to run the distance in just 24 hours so we know it will be both a mental and physical challenge.

“After 40 miles, there is always a lot of soul searching and the key is to ensure you get enough calories, stay hydrated and have a positive mindset.

“I am so pleased that we are doing this together as running with someone else keeps you alert and is a distraction when the going gets tough – particularly in the middle of the night.”

Matt, who is an accomplished marathon runner, continued: “The date of #SAS Skegness is important as it is the start of the school summer holidays and a time when children should all be looking forward to a holiday with their families.

“That is not possible for many families and, as parents ourselves, we were keen to ensure that these children supported by Revive who have all faced some extreme challenges will be able to do just that.”

Among those joining the trip this summer will be eight-year-old Joseph from Chaddesden who underwent a gruelling double lung transplant at Great Ormond Street Hospital last May.

He will be joined by his parents Andy and Jade and his six brothers and sisters, including the latest addition to the family who will be just a few weeks old.

Joseph contracted pneumonia when he was three months old which scarred his lungs and he was later diagnosed with Bronchiectasis and Bronchial Obliterans. Before the new lungs Joseph only had 18% lung function, needed two litres of oxygen 24/7, regular hospital stays and a huge assortment of medication including IV antibiotics.

Since receiving two new lungs, he is still being treated for gastric problems but is otherwise doing well. He has taught himself to ride a bike and even joined a local football team but this will be the first time that the whole family have been able to go on holiday together.

Andy said: “Life for Joseph and the whole family has been really tough so we are looking forward to our first holiday together. It will be just over a year since Joseph had the transplant and will give us time to re-set the button on family life.

“We haven’t told the kids yet that we are going on holiday but one of things we do need to do is get Joseph used to swimming as he has never been able to do that before now because of the medication and oxygen tubes.

“It’s amazing what these guys are doing running from Derby to Skegness and it just shows that there are good people out there who recognise how tough life can be for some families and who are prepared to literally go the extra mile to help.”

Charity manager Jo Andrew concluded: “We are in awe of the challenge that James and Matt have set themselves. Their commitment will enable children and families to enjoy a well-deserved seaside holiday this summer which will be a welcome break from the individual traumas that they have faced.

“Rolls-Royce are one of the many companies, organisations and individuals who support our work throughout the year including Secret Santa, Winter Aid and our ‘Hopes, Dreams & Aspirations’ fund which we run on top of the job club and personal support for families in this area.

“All of the children invited on the trip have been through extreme trauma in their lives so it is always wonderful to see the joy on their faces and to give families time to enjoy new activities and create precious memories together.”

To support #SAS Skegness, please visit

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