A son who lost his father to Covid-19 is cycling the distance from Leyland to Malta and back for hospital that cared for him

A son who lost his father to Covid-19 is virtually cycling the distance from Leyland to Malta and back to raise money for the Critical Care Unit where he was cared for.

Graham Swarbrick, from Leyland in Lancashire, was admitted to the Critical Care Unit at the Royal Preston Hospital on 24th January 2021 after he tested positive for the virus and was experiencing difficulties with his breathing.

Despite the best efforts of the nurses and doctors to keep him alive, Graham sadly passed away 10 days later on the 6th of February.

Graham and his son Darren were always keen to improve their health and fitness and during lockdown helped to raise funds for local charities.

“You wouldn’t describe either of us as unhealthy, but we were some way short of our peak perhaps”, said Darren.

In memory of his father, Darren has set himself a challenge to cycle 6586km, which is the distance from Leyland to Malta and back, as a way of saying thank you to staff at Lancashire Teaching Hospitals NHS Foundation Trust.

Darren said: “Whilst Dad was still conscious, he would tell us in his text messages that the staff were ‘angels’. I wanted to do something that would be challenging to keep me busy over the difficult months ahead, and to push my limits. I hope with our fundraising efforts, we can give something back to those who gave so much to help our dad in his final days.”

The distance Darren has chosen to cycle has a poignant meaning; it represents the distance from Graham’s and his wife Tonia’s home in Leyland, to the Santana Hotel in St Paul’s Bay in Malta, where they married.

So far, Darren has raised over £4,000 for Lancashire Teaching Hospitals Charity and is hoping to complete his mammoth virtual cycle on his Peloton bike on the 28th of May, which marks Graham’s birthday and wedding anniversary.

Paula Wilson, Head of Charities and Fundraising for Lancashire Teaching Hospitals NHS Foundation Trust, said: “I am in awe of the strength and resilience Darren has shown after the tragic loss of his father, Graham. Darren’s determination to do something positive during such heartbreak is inspiring and we’re so grateful for his generosity. On behalf of everyone, I would like to send Darren and his family our deepest condolences.”

To donate to Darren’s fundraising total visit: www.justgiving.com/fundraising/ltmgjs