The first ever thank you event for Shooting Star Chase challengers took place on 9 March – and saw over 70 event participants, sponsors and supporters celebrate their incredible fundraising over the last year, and six brave challengers receive an award for their particularly outstanding achievements in 2016.

The celebration was hosted by long-term corporate supporters, Fuller’s, at their Griffin Brewery in Chiswick. Fuller’s kindly served complimentary drinks and canapes, gave guests brewery tours, and MD Jonathan Swaine welcomed guests to the venue, before Piers Vimpany, Acting CEO of Shooting Star Chase, talked about the charity’s exciting plans and introduced the challengers awards.

Six awards were given to individuals who have gone over and above in their quest to raise money for the charity – and first up was supported dad, Paul Chandler, who received the Most Influential Challenger 2016. Paul has completed over 30 events in the last 5 years– some of which with his disabled son, Dominic – raising over £10,000 for Shooting Star Chase. In 2016 he ran the London Marathon with a broken foot and has managed many of our training runs, encouraging other challengers to hit their targets.

Paul said after receiving his award: “I do all this because my family is supported by Shooting Star Chase so I have a reason to, but I don’t know why you crazy lot do any of these things! But I’m really grateful for everyone’s support and the money they raise, and for the amazing staff and volunteers – because it all means we get the help we need.”

Paul Chandler post marathon

Outstanding Commitment to Challenges 2016 went to Keith Haylock who has not only raised over £20,000 for the charity with countless challenges over the years – he’s also completed his tenth London Marathon, his first Ride London-Surrey 100 and a 100k ultra marathon in 2016 alone. Corporate supporters, SR Group, were awarded the Challenge Team of the Year 2016 for their remarkable fundraising – which included over 80 members of staff completing five half marathons in five days across London, New York, Germany, Dubai and Sydney.

Seamus Crawford and Patrick Montgomery received the Ultimate Challenger 2016 for the world’s toughest triathlon – their Saddle, Sand and Sea challenge – which has entailed riding 2933 miles in 12 days on a bike during The RACE (Race across Europe) and running an ultra-marathon of 250km in 6 days across the Sahara desert for the Marathon Des Sables. Their final part of their triathlon will be the Talisker Whisky Atlantic Challenge later this year, which will see them row 3000 nautical miles from La Gomera to Antigua.

Teenager Tom Redrup was given the Young Fundraiser of the Year 2016 award for completing the Colour Run and raising money for Shooting Star Chase as part of his Duke of Edinburgh Award, when he ran the 5k route in 22 minutes and finished third out of over 200 runners – raising over £250. The final award, which was voted for by the public on social media, was the Challenger of the Year 2016 – which went to Justin White. Since starting to support the charity in 2015, Justin has thrown himself into fundraising, having taken part in events like 24Peaks in 24Hours, London 10,000, Colour Vibe, South Coast Challenge, Santa Run, Royal Parks, Surrey Half 5km, a Great Wall of China trek and the Fire Walk.

Justin White fire walking

The evening also saw supporters share training tips and advice, compare notes and finishing times, and inspire each other to take on new and exciting challenges. Katy Day-Jones, Challenge Events Manager at Shooting Star Chase, organised the event with her team and said: “The event was a fantastic opportunity to give all our supporters the thank you they absolutely deserve. In the past year they’ve raised a huge £500,000 for Shooting Star Chase and we couldn’t support children with life-limiting conditions, and their families, without their help.

“It was great to be able to give a special nod to the six award-winners who have gone over and above, achieving some truly amazing things to raise as much money as possible.  We are truly in awe of their achievements.”

If you feel inspired to take on a challenge event to raise money for Shooting Star Chase, check our  list of events!