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Aberdeenshire man to take on solo Ironman challenge to thank cancer charity for wife’s care

Aimee and Thomas Barter with their two dogs.
Aimee and Thomas Barter with their two dogs.

An Aberdeenshire man who cancelled a trip to an overseas Ironman event due to the pandemic has decided to complete one by himself – to raise money for the local cancer charity that helped his wife through her treatment.

Thomas Barter was due to travel to Copenhagen for their Ironman this weekend, but decided to pull out due to concerns about international travel amid the coronavirus pandemic.

Undaunted, he will instead be taking on the extreme triathlon a little closer to home and all on his own.

In under 15 hours and 45 minutes – the time is part of the criteria for an Ironman event – Mr Barter will be:

  • Swimming 2.4 miles in open water at Knockburn Loch
  • Cycling a 112-mile route that will bring him back round to Knockburn
  • Running 65 laps of the running track at the local activity centre

Mr Barter’s challenge is in aid of Friends of Anchor, the charity that supports Aberdeen Royal Infirmary’s cancer unit, as well as the Willow Foundation and Lupus UK.

‘Cancer waits for no one’

Six years ago, his wife Aimee was treated for non-Hodgkin’s lymphoma at the Anchor Unit, and he said the north-east charity provided a “backbone of support” for them both in an extremely difficult time.

Mr Barter, from Crathes, near Banchory, said: “I considered waiting until next year when I could travel to Copenhagen, but in doing that it would have been another year until I could fundraise for Friends of Anchor.

“The work the charity does is vital and the need for fundraising is higher now than ever due to the challenges of the pandemic.”

Mr Barter has previously taken on an Olympic triathlon and a half-Ironman in aid of Friends of Anchor.

He added: “Cancer waits for no one, and that’s a big part of why I decided to bite the bullet and do the challenge solo this year.

“It will be a much tougher test without the buzz and atmosphere of an official race day, and I hope it inspires people to support the cause.”

The 35-year-old, who works for the PD&MS Group in Aberdeen, has previously raised £8,000 for Friends of Anchor by completing an Olympic triathlon and a half-Ironman.

Money to go towards new £2m centre

Architect Aimee was diagnosed with the lymphoma when she was 27, not long after the couple got married.

She said: “During my treatment it was wonderful to know there was that secondary support system from Friends of Anchor right beside me.

“Having the wellbeing team there alongside patients means having someone to listen if you need a chat, which is so important.

“The little daily pick-me-ups, like ice lollies, were always welcome, and the films and games provided some light-hearted relief.”

The money generated by Mr Barter’s effort will be used to support the Anchored Together appeal, which is raising £2 million towards the new Anchor Centre.

Due to open in 2023, the NHS Grampian cancer treatment facility will be the first of its kind in Scotland.

‘An incredible undertaking’

Erica Banks, communications lead at Friends of Anchor, said: “Thomas is no stranger to an endurance challenge, but the sheer scale of challenge as epic as an Ironman is something else.

“To have the excitement of travelling to Copenhagen and being motivated by the crowds and cheering is one thing, but Thomas has chosen to complete his Ironman solo, on his local roads and at his local activity centre.

“It’s an incredible undertaking and we’re very grateful of his support.”

Thomas’s fundraising page can be found on Virgin Money Giving here.

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