Ironman Nick is a charity champ after five-day challenge ends in Holbeach

Nick Franklin (third right) is welcomed back by friends outside The Horse and Groom, Holbeach, after finishing five half Ironmans in five days to raise money for the British Heart Foundation, Cancer Research UK and West Norfolk Mind.  Photo supplied.
Nick Franklin (third right) is welcomed back by friends outside The Horse and Groom, Holbeach, after finishing five half Ironmans in five days to raise money for the British Heart Foundation, Cancer Research UK and West Norfolk Mind. Photo supplied.
  • Sports and fitness fan hits £10k fundraising mark for British Heart Research
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The son of a former Holbeach grower has kept his father’s name alive with pride after coming through a five-day test of stamina for charity.

Nick Franklin (30), formerly of Holbeach, swam for six miles, cycled for 28 miles and managed 65 miles of running to raise money for the British Heart Foundation, Cancer Research UK and West Norfolk Mind respectively.

Family and friends welcomed Nick, educated at University Academy Holbeach, back to his home town for celebratory drinks at the Horse and Groom pub in High Street after the last leg of his challenge which ran from Tuesday, March 20 to Saturday, March 24.

Nick said: “The physical toll was very demanding, but it was a psychological effort as well purely because I was in the routine of getting up at 5.15am to be in the swimming pool for 6.30am and not sitting down until 8pm or 8.30pm at night.

“I could feel the body just naturally slowing down naturally and was finding it a little harder to function from time to time.”

Now living and working in King’s Lynn, Nick lost his father Graham to a heart attack at the age of 52 to a heart attack in October 2009.

The support over the five days was just absolutely overwhelming and with the impact of social media, it was almost as if I had celebrity status because people were just talking about the challenge and the magnitude of it

Nick Franklin (30), formerly of Holbeach

Former co-owner of South Holland Plant Centre in Quadring, Graham also managed the Holbeach Bank football team and since his passing, Nick has fundraised for the British Heart Foundation.

He said: “The support over the five days was just absolutely overwhelming and with the impact of social media, it was almost as if I had celebrity status because people were just talking about the challenge and the magnitude of it.

“It felt like I was the talk of the town, having ‘Good Luck’ messages from people I didn’t know but who thought what I was doing was amazing.”

Nick’s triumphant return to Holbeach on March 24, and donations for his challenge, took the total amount raised for the British Heart Foundation over the last eight years past the £10,000 mark.

It includes money raised by a charity football match, karaoke and raffle in Holbeach, held in May 2010, and a 48-hour static bike ride by Nick in September 2011.

Two years later, Nick did his first five-day “marathon” of cycling, running and climbing Britain’s Three Peaks (Ben Nevis in Scotland, Scafell Pike in England and Snowdon in Wales).

Nick said: “When you have a reason to do something, you just don’t give up and I could never imagine the finish line until I got through the fifth day because I could have got injured or knocked off my bike.”

On his arrival in Holbeach, Nick was presented with a £1,000 donation from Holbeach’s Chosen Charity Shop.

He said: “Because I’m a Holbeach boy, and the challenge was for local causes, the staff at Chosen said to my mum that they would donate some money and they kept their word.

“It meant so much to me and I couldn’t have done this without the support of people giving up their time to help me.

“The support and donations spurred me on and made the challenge all worthwhile, so to get beyond the £4,500 foundraising mark is beyond my wildest dreams.”

Nick’s ride in memory of dad

Nick hands over his £4,700 charity cash

Personal mission for Holbeach-bred Nick ahead of five Ironmans