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Steve Backley sees mammoth fundraising drive at Sidcup gym

PUBLISHED: 17:19 03 April 2012

Steve Backley and Danny Lavender

Steve Backley and Danny Lavender

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Former Olympic medallist Steve Backley joined a gruelling fund-raising effort at a Sidcup gym to support a Parkinson's disease sufferer last Friday (30)

Danny Lavender, 48, who lives in Orpington, was raising money at the David Lloyd Gym in Baugh Road for Cure Parkinson’s Trust.

He was diagnosed with the disease in December 2004 and started fundraising for the trust in 2010.

In the space of 15 hours, Danny set himself the task of running up and down 13 flights of stairs 50 times, rowing for five hours and spin cycling for five hours.

Danny said: “This fundraising helps me keep a positive mind and I’m very focused to try and inspire people.

“When I was diagnosed I was shell-shocked and devastated because I’ve always prided myself on being physically fit, but this fundraising has given me a goal and it’s crucial to raise awareness.”

He started the challenge at the Riverside House tower block in Woolwich High Street at 5am before moving to the David Lloyd Gym.

Mr Backley, OBE, was born in Sidcup, and is a former javelin world record holder and won a bronze medal at the Barcelona Olympics and silver at both Atlanta and Sydney.

He said: “I get a lot of charity requests but there’s no way you can say no to someone with the determination and enthusiasm of someone like Danny.

“Perfectly fit twentysomethings would struggle to do what he’s doing, but when you consider everything that Danny has gone through and to still have his attitude.

“I’d definitely like to do a fundraising challenge with him in the future. I’m in this for the long haul.”

Danny was awarded an MBE for his services as a civil servant in 2010 and he has taken on the stair, rowing and cycling challenges separately, but never in one gut-wrenching day.

He was joined throughout the challenge by workmate Kevin Diedrick, 49, who helped get him through the day.

Danny said: “My everyday life is affected by the disease and sometimes I find it hard to do simple acts like shaving and doing up buttons, but apparently I’m doing quite well for the stage I’m at.”

Danny said he intends to do more fund-raising once he gets over his exertions at the Sidcup gym.

His efforts have raised £3,600 so far.

For more information on the trust visit www.cureparkinsons.org.uk.

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