10:00AM, Friday 02 October 2020
Two former members of the army have completed a mammoth 184-mile run along the River Thames to raise money for a six-year-old boy from Holyport with a rare muscle-wasting disease.
Huw Jones started the challenge with his friend Jon-Paul Ford on September 21, completing the distance in just five days – two days ahead of target – on Friday.
They were doing it in aid of young Archie Davies, from Moneyrow Green, who was diagnosed with Duchenne muscular dystrophy in August 2017, which causes muscles to weaken.
There is no cure and Archie will be in a wheelchair full-time, with life expectancy reduced to his 20s.
A family fund has been set up with charity Duchenne UK – called ‘Archie’s March’ – with money from this used to research, treat and potentially find a cure for the disease.
Huw and Jon-Paul have raised more than £2,000 for the cause.
Alex Davies with his two children Freddie and Archie, and wife Beccy (above)
The challenge came about due to Huw and Archie’s dad, Alex, meeting after their two sons became close friends at Burchetts Green Infants School.
“It is just amazing really. When we sat on the sofa and thought about it when they finished, we couldn’t believe that somebody would do that for our little boy,” Alex said.
“The thing about this [disease] is that you feel like you are on your own, and it is about the community, the people around you.”
Alex’s wife, Beccy, took part in an overnight walk – called ‘Moonlight March’ – from Henley to Maidenhead last year to raise funds for Archie’s March.
Alex added: “The condition is permanent and terminal. It has been absolutely horrendous, and the lockdown on top of it.”
Huw is resting up after his run – which saw him complete about 40 miles a day from Kemble to the Thames estuary– and said he wanted to complete the challenge for a ‘lovely little boy’.
“Both of us used to be in the army so we have got quite a lot of experience in that kind of endurance, but not over that length of time and that kind of distance,” he said.
“It was a long way, there is no getting past that.
“It is good to push yourself, but also we wanted to do something to try and help with Archie, he is a lovely little boy and it is a tragic condition.”
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