A New Holland employee raised over £8,000 on a charity cycle ride that crossed the Irish Sea to thank two hospitals for their support when his son tragically died during pregnancy.
James Ashworth and his wife, Alissa (29), who live near Epping, were devastated when a 12-week scan showed their unborn son, Billy, was suffering several fatal abnormalities. He died in February 2013.
The couple were so grateful for the help they received from the Princess Alexandra Hospital in Harlow and the University College Hospital London that James formed a six-man cycling team with the aim of collecting £4,000.
With the support of family, friends, colleagues and the New Holland dealer network they smashed through the original target to more than double the total.
They successfully pedaled 350 road miles in five days: starting from Harlow, Essex, crossing the Irish Sea, and finishing at Carrick-on-Suir, Co Tipperary, in southern Ireland.
Joining James (39), who works as General Sales Manager England and Wales for agricultural machinery manufacturer New Holland, were Simon Parrish, Mark Reed, James Conway, Maurice Conway and Leo Commins.
James said: “From the moment that we found out about Billy's condition, we received fantastic support from the teams at the Princess Alexandra Hospital Harlow and the University College Hospital London.
“We wanted to help them continue that great work with even more couples and that was the inspiration behind the bike ride. It was tough going at times but the cause we were doing it for kept us going.”
He added: “The support we received from everyone involved and the donations that just kept coming helped to push us well over our target meaning that the cycle ride will deliver even more help to care for others who find themselves in similar circumstances to Alissa and I.”
Proceeds from the Bike for Billy charity cycle ride were shared between the Neonatal Unit in Harlow and the Fetal Medicine Unit at University College Hospital London.