Raising vital funds for Saint Francis Hospice not only means making a difference to the lives of people at the charity, but is also a great way to challenge yourself, says Upminster's Dean Baker.

When I signed up for the London Triathlon, the Brighton Marathon and the Chelmsford Half Marathon, there was plenty of time in between the events to train and recover.

But the pandemic changed all that with the events being postponed or cancelled.

On Sunday, August 8, I completed the London Triathlon. I went for the Olympic distance (1,500m swim, 40km cycle and a 10km run). It was such a great event and it was something very different for me. The atmosphere was brilliant. Everyone had their own challenge. We were all in it together and whether you came first or last, we were all doing it.

My next event is the Brighton Marathon on Sunday, September 12, which I should have run in April last year. And my last event will be the Chelmsford Half Marathon on Sunday, October 3.

Barking and Dagenham Post: 45-year-old Dean Baker from Upminster with his medal45-year-old Dean Baker from Upminster with his medal (Image: St Francis Hospice)

I set out to raise £1,000 for Saint Francis Hospice and I’m thrilled that I’ve raised £1,380 so far.

The hospice gives such great care and support to the local community - whether that be at the hospice or in people's homes.

The hospice has had a major impact on our family. The nurses, doctors and all the team at the hospice took such great care of my wife Lisa when she was on the ward in 2018.

Lisa had a brain tumour and during the last few weeks of her life, the team were amazing and they made her feel comfortable and well.

The charity’s family support team has also been there for me and my two children Jack and Grace.

Since then the hospice has also cared for friends and when I raise money for the hospice, I know where the money is going and what a difference it is making to people's lives.

I will keep on challenging myself. I enjoy keeping fit and taking part in events is good for my mental health as when I am out running, cycling or swimming it takes my mind of any pressures or stress I may be feeling.