St Ives dad walks 70 miles on stilts in memory of son

08:00 30 August 2014

St Ives resident Chris Dowers, who is walking from St Ives to Great Ormond St Hospital on stilts in aid of a charity set up in memory of his son

St Ives resident Chris Dowers, who is walking from St Ives to Great Ormond St Hospital on stilts in aid of a charity set up in memory of his son

Archant

A St Ives dad is walking 70 miles to Great Ormond Street Hospital, in London, to raise funds and awareness about a charity set up in memory of his son – and he’s upped the stakes by doing it on stilts.

Christopher Dowers is taking on the challenge in aid of the Baby James’ Starlight Trust, which he and wife Emma founded after their only child, James, died of an undiagnosed condition in 2012, aged just 19 months.

Christopher, 27, of Dunnock Way, St Ives, completed the journey on foot last year, having never attempted such a long walk before.

But this year he decided he would go to even greater heights to raise the profile of the charity, and do it on stilts.

“I was thinking about how I could capture people’s attention and thought I’d make myself as obvious as possible,” said Mr Dowers, a ¬logistics operative with Young Living Essential Oils in Kimbolton.

“If it gets people’s attention, it’s worth doing.”

He has already been turning heads on practice walks on his Pro-jump stilts.

“People look at me as though I have come from another planet. It makes them smile and they ask what I’m doing.

“You go fast when you go downhill, that’s for certain.”

Mr Dowers is due to set off on his route, one that James travelled frequently during his short life, on September 20.

He is due to pass through Saffron Walden, Bishop’s Stortford, Harlow and Cheshunt, and will arrive at Great Ormond Street five days later, exactly two years after James died.

The Dowers, who said their son was always smiling and chuckling despite the numerous tests and¬ ¬treatments he endured, set up the trust so they could help people ¬experiencing similar to what they went through.

Since last May, they have been supporting families with children with undiagnosed diseases and Mitochondrial disease, a disorder affecting the body’s cells.

INFORMATION: To support Mr Dowers, you can visit www.virginmoneygiving.com/team/starlight8. For more on the trust, go to www.babyjamesstarlighttrust.co.uk.

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