Grand Union Canal challenge to support Sands and help families in Bedfordshire

A couple who have been fundraising for Sands for ten years are planning to run along the Grand Union Canal to raise money for the charity.

Dan and Claire Ashley, originally from Luton, have been raising money for the stillborn and neonatal death charity since their daughter was stillborn in May 2009.

Claire and Dan with  Ben Tye who has been helping with the fundraising

Claire and Dan with Ben Tye who has been helping with the fundraising

This year, Dan, his friend Ben Tye and his wife Agnieszka, will be running the length of the Grand Union Canal (145 miles) from Monday, May 13, aiming to run 29 miles a day for five days.

Dan, 36, said: “Claire had a normal pregnancy but after 37 weeks we went to the hospital due to lack of movements but we were told the devastating news that Ruby had died. Claire then went through 19 hours of labour to give birth to our beautiful baby.

“Since that day we have made it our mission to help other people, which is why we support the Sands. Claire found Sands online and they really helped her and gave her a lot of support. Every year since we have been raising money and awareness for the charity. This year, we are going for our biggest challenge yet, it is more than a marathon a day, neither of us have ran a marathon so this is going to be a real challenge for us.”

Claire, 34, is also a volunteer for Bedfordshire Sands group, which helps support families, she also liaises with midwives at Luton and Dunstable Hospital, and Bedford Hospital.

Dan Ashley with Ben Tye and his wife Agnieszka Tye

Dan Ashley with Ben Tye and his wife Agnieszka Tye

She said: “There are a lot of special people at the L&D and the care we got on the whole was very good but a couple of junior midwives found it difficult to know what to say to us. I hope by giving talks to student midwives and giving a parents perspective it will help the level of care in the future.”

Claire and Dan, who have three more children, Lily, eight, JJ, six and Emily, three, are hoping to raise £5,000 for the charity. They have already reached £2,000, to make a donation visit: www.justgiving.com/fundraising/runforruby10.