Scotland-based dad to complete Mount Everest challenge for Edinburgh charity after losing his three-week-old son to heart problem

A dad will cycle the altitude of Mount Everest in the highlands to raise funds for an Edinburgh-based charity who helped him and his family after him and his wife lost their son to a heart problem only three weeks after he was born.

Monday, 24th May 2021, 12:57 pm
Richard Skipworth holding baby Alex Skipworth who sadly passed away aged only three weeks old.

For Father’s Day, 38-year-old Richard Skipworth who lives in the Borders is cycling the height of Mount Everest to raise funds for the Edinburgh-based bereavement charity Held In Our Hearts.

The Edinburgh charity helped him and his family after his newly born son, Alex Skipworth, tragically passed away due to a rare heart defect.

Mr Skipworth will also be raising funds for Glasgow Children’s Hospital and the Ronald McDonald House in Glasgow.

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Richard Skipworth with his children Robyn, 5, and 11 month-old Brody.

On June 19, a day before Father’ day, Mr Skipworth will ride up and down the south side of the Ben Lawers road nearly 30 times.

This will accumulate to 516 miles with a 29,029 feet accent – the equivalent height of Everest and a challenge called ‘Everesting’ in the cycling community.

Mr Skipworth who has lived in Oxton in the Borders with his wife Katie for ten years said: "Riding my bike has been my way of coping with losing Alex. I call it “my Alex time”.

"When lockdown came last year I needed a target to keep that connection with him going.

Part of the route Mr Skipworth will take (Photo: Strava).

"I rode 516 miles to remember his 516 hours of life in 2019.

"This ride will represent the mountain I’ve had to climb to learn how to cope with my grief for Alex.

"I aim to raise what I can for the three charities that supported my family through this terrible time.

“By the time I finish the challenge the following morning (Father’s Day) it will also happen to be 29, 029 hours since Alex lost his fight for life.”

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Alexander Skipworth was born at the Borders General Hospital in Melrose three years ago on February 6, 2018.

Only when having his pre-checks before being discharged, did doctors pick up a rare heart problem in Alex.

He was rushed to Glasgow Children’s hospital only a day old for emergency surgery and was diagnosed with the ultimately fatal heart defect – Total Anomalous Pulmonary Venous Return (TAPVR). After open-heart surgery, Alex was kept alive using a heart and lung machine, however, he tragically passed away on February 27, 2018.

In his challenge, Mr Skipworth will start his climb from the banks of Loch Tay and the route will wind its way up the south flank of Ben Lawers, topping out at Lawers Dam.

With 1,000 feet of ascent at an average gradient of 6.4%, he will repeat this climb 29 times to recreate the climb of Everest.

Mr Skipworth, his wife Katy Skipworth and other family members have raised almost £20,000 for Scottish charities who have supported families like them who have lost a child.

Ms Skipworth cycled from the Borders General Hospital to Glasgow Children’s Hospital to represent the journey Alex took in the ambulance.

The family has set up the Virgin Money Giving page ‘A Mountain of Time - Everesting for Alex’ and hopes to raise £1,000 in total for the three charities.

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