As the enormity of what they have achieved sinks in, the nine dads, uncles and friends supported by Tŷ Hafan who undertook the mammoth Bike Boat Boot extreme fundraising challenge have been reflecting on the past few days. 

The team – Tŷ Hafan fathers Paul Fears, Dan Forbes, Ryan Tomlinson, Chris Thomas, James Meacham, Lee Morgan and Anthony Boggis, with Laurence Morgan, brother of Lee, and Jason Foster, Tŷ Hafan’s Director of Finance – have just travelled the length of Wales under their own steam in just four days and all in a bid to raise to raise £50,000 for Tŷ Hafan. 

In the event, not only have they cycled, kayaked and hiked more than 200 miles with a total elevation of 28,000 feet well within the timeframe they set themselves, but they have totally smashed their target with their fundraising total currently standing at £57,670. 

Here they all are, in their own words, as to how they are all feeling now. 


Aberdare’s Anthony Boggis, whose son Rhys passed away aged 16 

“It’s been an amazing experience. Memories that will be there for life.  When I signed up for the challenge, I envisaged a physically demanding event.  However, I did not expect it to be as physically challenging as it turned out to be.  

“The team, made up of dads, an uncle and a Tŷ Hafan staff member, are some of the strongest people I know and we pulled each other through each stage of the 200 miles and I certainly couldn’t have achieved it without these guys.  

“I called upon Rhys’ strength a few times when hiking over tough terrain or cycling up what felt like vertical hills. 

“I must also say none of us would have been able to complete the challenge without our support team.  Each support stop was swift, efficient and very much appreciated.  Nothing was too much for these guys and they are as important to the overall challenge as the dads doing the 200 miles.  

“Also, must say that JT Expeditions Jake, Joe, Will and Dean, Maxine and Andy were fantastic. Great sense of humour and their organisational skills were immense.  Despite the toughest challenge I always felt we were always safe and that we were prepared should things go wrong 

“I am absolutely proud of myself and the team in what we have achieved and the amount of support and donations we have gotten is exceptional.  To think that the nine participants and a support team can raise over £57,000 and rising in 4 days is truly powerful. 

“I’m already missing the 4:30am wakeup calls and the cries of ‘Are we ready to go lads?’ from the expedition leaders.  

“A few thank yous.  Tŷ Hafan for their role in all of our lives; JT Expeditions for keeping us safe; our sponsors for sponsoring the event; and then all the people who donated.  Lastly, thank you to our families, our wives, partners and children who waved us off on Wednesday and continued with daily life and care while we were away.  They are all superheroes too.” 


Lee Morgan, of Kenfig Hill, father of Ezra, who passed away at just seven weeks old 

“I’m totally in awe of what we’ve done.  It doesn’t feel real.  Together we’ve seen parts of Wales that others could only dream about, side by side with the most amazing resilient fathers on the planet.  A special connection that only a minor minority could understand.  Give me a week and I’ll do it all again!  Very successful fundraiser for Tŷ Hafan. I’m sad that it’s over 😢” 


Also of Kenfig Hill, Laurence Morgan, Ezra’s uncle 

“It’s been one hell of a challenge.  My emotions are all over the place, not sure if I want to laugh or cry.  My body is in pain, but if feels good!  I’ve got a sense of achievement.  It broke my heart seeing all my friends, my brothers, in tears over their children no longer with us and was so thankful to hold Myn.  At this time, I’m honestly not sure I could do another one.  All the dads truly are heroes.  Got love for them all.” 


Dan Forbes, of Llantwit Major and dad of Felix, age 12, who is supported by Tŷ Hafan 

“This challenge has left me with an immense sense of achievement and pride.  It was an honour and a pleasure to undertake an incredibly demanding challenge with such a fantastic group of men.  I know that as the fatigue fades and wounds heal, the camaraderie between these brothers will remain for a lifetime.”


The Bike Boat Boot Team with members of their support team led by Jake Thompsett.


James Meacham, of Pontllanfraith, father of Thomas, who passed away aged nine-years-old 

“As a group we’re together for the saddest of reasons, but ironically, we laughed together so much that laughing now hurts!  Yes, the challenge was incredibly hard and there were a few ‘I can’t do this any more’ moments across the team, but they didn’t last long as there’s plenty of support and encouragement from the others to drag you through the tough times when you need it.  

“It’s a rough parallel with being a Tŷ Hafan parent I suppose, one foot in front of the other, regardless of the circumstances and obstacles you face.  A trip I’ll remember forever.” 


Chris Thomas, of Caerphilly. Chris’s daughter, Scarlett, passed away at just four years old 

“This is my third challenge with the dads, and there are a few things that are consistent. 1) You are capable of more than you think, it’s surprising what you can do physically. 2) The generosity and support from people is astounding. But, most importantly: 3) the bonds created enables conversations between us that most wouldn’t get. A group of participants (who may not know each other at the start) become friends who support each other.” 


Ryan Tomlinson, of Rhymney. Ryan’s one year old son Talis is supported by Tŷ Hafan 

“I don’t think I thought about how tough the challenge was going to be.  Not only being away from my family, but the magnitude of the whole bike, boat, boot across Wales.  The long days, lack of sleep and the monumental challenges that we faced every day wasn’t easy.   

“The elevations while carrying bikes on our backs wasn’t something I imagined us doing, but we pushed through.  The determination from each individual that took part was next to none.  Every day we would wake with high morale and banter, with lots more stories about our children and memories to keep for a lifetime.   

“Not many men speak out when things get tough so it was great to speak in an open space on top of mountains without judgement.  When we arrived back to Cardiff Bay and Tŷ Hafan the amount of support shown was amazing.  It was an emotional one to say the least.  We, as a team, feel accomplished.   

“We all feel immensely proud to have taken part in such a challenge to give back to Tŷ Hafan.  Money is nothing when you have lost a child or have a child with a life-limiting condition, but it means that Tŷ Hafan can continue to support families like ours.  I’ve certainly met friends for life.  And I can’t wait for the next one.” 


Paul Fears, of Church Village. Paul’s son Greg passed away aged 31  

“This was a brutal challenge.  There were numerous times when I was totally out of my depth.  Times when I thought I couldn’t go on.  Then I would look around me and see the incredible men by my side, encouraging and supporting me.  I honestly love them all.   

“In those times I would also look at Greg’s signature tattooed on my arm.  He never gave up.  He was the bravest person I’ve ever known.  And the pain experienced on the challenge was nothing compared to the pain of losing him.” 


Jason Foster, from Penarth, is Director of Finance at Tŷ Hafan 

“It was an honour to be asked to be a part of this latest challenge by this group of dads who are supported by Tŷ Hafan.   

“I certainly underestimated its difficulty, but the support of the group got everyone through the challenges we faced.  For me, this was a four-day challenge; four days of emotional and physical ups and downs; similar to the terrain we journeyed across, but for the Tŷ Hafan dads, their challenge was beyond that.  

“On behalf of Tŷ Hafan, we are extremely grateful for the funds this event has raised. I know how much these dads appreciate the services that Tŷ Hafan provides; yet there are so many more dads out there without access these services and we must also keep them in our minds.” 


James Davies-Hale, Head of Fundraising for Tŷ Hafan, said:  

“Thousands of families in Wales live every day knowing their child’s life will be short and at the moment they often face this without any care or support.  

“Our ambition is: When a child’s life will be short no family should have to live it on their own.  

“Right now, Tŷ Hafan only has enough money to help one in 10 families in Wales that could benefit from our support. 

“What the Bike Boat Boot team have just done has not only helped to raise awareness of what we do, but has also, raised vital funds to help us to reach every family who needs our support. We simply could not be more grateful to them.”

To make a donation to the Bike Boat Boot Challenge team go to: Bike Boat Boot Challenge for Tŷ Hafan – JustGiving 


The Bike Boat Boot Team in Ty Hafan’s Memorial Garden after completing their four-day fundraising challenge.