A Midlands police officer has pushed himself to the limit after completing a triathlon with a difference and raising over £1,600 for Birmingham Children’s Hospital Charity.

Detective Constable Paul Hadley, from Cleobury Mortimer in Shropshire, powered his way through a 400m swim in the freezing sea before cycling 25k and rounding off his challenge with a 5k run through sand dunes as part of the Sandman Triathlon in Anglesey, Wales.

Two of Paul’s colleagues, PCs Paul Ray and Andy Boardman, joined him for the challenge, but having never taken part in a triathlon before, they enlisted one of Paul’s closest friends, Amir Shafie, a veteran triathlete, to help them train. Amir worked the trio hard to get them ready, with 6:30am open-water-swimming sessions every Saturday. But, as hard-going as the training was, Paul was determined to do his best for Birmingham Children’s Hospital Charity, where his son had been treated after a car accident.

Paul’s children Joseph (14) and Eve (eight) were with their grandad, John Hadley, when their car was involved in a collision. Whilst the crash could have been worse, the three of them were still rushed to their local hospital to be treated for their injuries. Eve had suffered lacerations where her seatbelt had cut into her skin, but after doctors had stitched her injuries, she was allowed home to recover.

Unfortunately, recovery wasn’t so simple for Joseph, who had suffered broken ribs. When a further scan of his torso showed blood on his organs, doctors feared Joseph had suffered internal injuries in the accident and made the decision to blue-light him to Birmingham Children’s Hospital where he could receive more specialist care. It was a scary few hours for the Hadley family, but further examinations showed that thankfully there was no internal bleeding, just some residual blood on the outside of his organs from the initial crash impact. After a three day stay in hospital, Paul was relieved to be able to take Joseph home.

Paul said: “The relief when we were told that Joseph hadn’t experienced any internal bleeding was immense and over the next three days, we were just in awe of the incredible care and attention Joseph received. As soon as we’d left Birmingham Children’s Hospital, I just knew I wanted to do something to say thank you.

“At first, I suggested a parachute jump as a way to raise money, but my wife said that people would only sponsor me if I did something that would hurt – and that’s the only way I could describe the triathlon! I’m lucky to have such supportive colleagues who joined me on taking on the triathlon and we just couldn’t have done it without Amir’s expert training! Together we were able to triple our original £500 target for the charity.”

Miranda Williams, Public Fundraising Manager at Birmingham Children’s Hospital Charity, said: “Discovering that both of his children had been hurt in the accident must have been a traumatic time for Paul, let alone Joseph and Eve themselves. We’re so glad that both of them have made full recoveries and we’re so impressed by Paul’s determination to fundraise for us after his experience of our hospital.

“The amazing amount Paul and his colleagues raised will go towards helping us do more to support brave patients just like Joseph.”

If Paul’s story has inspired you to fundraise for our charity then register your fundraising or make a donation