Ironman James on a Canadian mission

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James Huntingdon will push himself to the limit in Canada this month as a ‘thank you’ to a charity that helped a friend’s daughter when she needed many life-saving operations.

The 36-year-old from Sandygate will swim, cycle and run over a marathon course in Whistler, near Vancouver, in his third ‘Ironman’ challenge in 14 months, raising money for The Sick Children’s Trust.

In particular, the money will go to the trust’s Branching Out Appeal - supported by the Sheffield Telegraph - for extra family accommodation at Sheffield Children’s Hospital.

Already free accommodation is provided at Treetop House in the hospital so relatives can always be close to their children, and it was used Peter Skipworth and his wife, Joanne, of Mosborough, when their daughter Emily, now 12, was in the hospital.

Emily became ill with small vein vasculitis at the age of five, and Peter, aged 43, said: “Treetop House provided invaluable support during my family stays which on occasion have been as long as three months.

“It is heartbreaking to think that without the charity’s support Emily might not have been able to have her family around her as she fought her illness.

“She has made it through tens of life-saving operations and although she will always need assistance with her condition she is now able to be happy at home along with her four sisters.

“The Sick Children’s Trust will no doubt continue to play a big part of in our lives.”

Ironman challenges comprise a 2.4-mile swim, a 112-mile bicycle ride and a marathon 26.2-mile run without a break.

James, who completed events in France and Wales last year, said: “I’m getting faster each time and hope to beat 11 hours 30 minutes. Emily is my inspiration and I am sure will help me through one this massive challenge and reach my fundraising target of £1,000.”

The trust’s second ‘Home from Home’ is due to open in Northumberland Road, in converted properties at the back of the hospital, in October following the launch of the £980,000 Branching Out Appeal with the backing of actor Dominic West.

Treetop House manager Ann Wyatt said: “If we reach our fundraising goal and are able to open this new house it means we can support more and more families such as Pete’s and continue our vital work.”

*James can be sponsored at