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Death of family friend inspires 61-year-old to take on challenge
She may be 61, but that won’t stop Sheila Henshaw from tackling one of the toughest endurance challenges in the UK.
Sheila, of Maypark, Bamber Bridge, is joining the 10k Wolf Run in Warwickshire on September 7 to raise money in memory of a close family friend who died aged 31.
Ian Tonge of Bamber Bridge, died in July, just four hours after marrying long-term partner Gemma from his hospital bed. The couple had two young children, Jayden, three, and Jamie, one.
Ian, who was known as Tongy, had been doing work at his house in November last year when he became ill with a suspected virus, before being diagnosed with anaplastic lymphoma in March this year after months of tests.
“We’re a small community in Bamber Bridge and we’d all known Ian forever. He grew up with my children. He was a fantastic dad,” said Sheila, the office manager from Community Foster Care, based in Lancaster.
It was her daughter Lucy Robertson, 32, from Leamington Spa who suggested signing up for the Wolf Run and raising money in Ian’s memory for Leukaemia and Lymphoma Research.
Sheila’s son Paul, 33, and his partner Natalie Brown, 29, both from Bamber Bridge, were quick to join her, along with two of Lucy’s friends Polly Barber and Lyndsey Whitehead.
Sheila added: “When they asked me to go along I couldn’t find a reason to say ‘no’. It’s a bit of an assault course, but I’ll give it a go.”
The Henshaw ‘pack’ will have to wade through mud pits and bogs, climb through cargo nets, swim across a lake and run through ditches, hills and dense undergrowth in an event that offers ‘a primal, instinctive way of running in raw, challenging terrain’.
It will be Sheila’s first endurance challenge. She took up running six years ago, to take part in the London Marathon, does regular 10k events, and in June this year took part in the Two Castles 10k in Warwickshire with Lucy when they raised more than £400 for Meningitis Now, in memory of Sheila's sister who died of meningitis last year.
Anyone who wants to support Sheila and her team can do so on www.justgiving.com/SHEILA-Henshaw