THE son of a former Worcester hospital chaplain has shed almost 40 per cent of his bodyweight as he prepares to run his first triathlon – even though he can’t ride a bike or swim.
Dave Beevers, aged 58, weighed 24 stone at the start of 2013 but by May had completed his first marathon after setting himself a 'crazy challenge', inspired by his late wife's cancer fight.
Mr Beevers' father, Reg Beevers, was chaplain at Worcester Royal Infirmary and Powick Hospital from 1959 to 1963. His work also included the Eye Hospital (later Ronkswood) and the South Bank Nursing Home.
Sadly, Reg did not get to see his son’s amazing transformation as he died in 2007.
Mr Beevers said: “He was always very proud of his time in Worcester. It was very tough dealing with the spiritual well-being of people who were going through tough times in their lives, as well as the anxieties of their families, but he loved it. He was always a hugely generous man so I hope he is looking down on me and feeling proud of what I’m trying to achieve.”
Mr Beevers was inspired to sort his health out and take up running after the death of his wife Diane to breast cancer.
He said: “The courage and bravery she showed during those final weeks of her life made me realise how special she was and I had to do something to keep her memory alive.
“I was 24 stone, diabetic and struggled to get up a flight of stairs. So I decided to join a gym and started running to raise money for the support charity Breast Cancer Care to help other families who find themselves in the same position we did.”
He set up the Running With Diane fund-raising campaign and began writing a blog (runningwithdiane.blogspot.co.uk)
In just over 12 months he lost nine stone, dropped five shirt sizes and took eight inches off his waist and just eight months after his first 5K run he completed his first marathon – at Liverpool in May.
Now he is getting ready for his first taste of a triathlon in September with beginner’s swimming and cycling lessons.
Mr Beevers, of Bolton, Lancashire, said: “It’s kind of happened by accident. After the marathon, I had to come up with something even more outrageous to get people’s attention. Then someone said triathlon and I was hooked on the idea.
“Trouble is, I swim like a ship’s anchor and am so unsteady on a bike it looks like I’m cycling through an earthquake. I sat on a bike for the first time in my life only a fortnight ago. But I’ll get there. Dad and Diane will get me through.”