Yorkshire Times
A Voice of the North
10:15 AM 6th February 2021

Primary School Teacher To Take On Gruelling New Year Challenges

Daniel Sykes, 31 from Halifax, has embarked on a series of testing physical challenges to raise money for the British Heart Foundation (BHF) after his beloved father tragically suffered a fatal cardiac while delivering Christmas cards to his neighbours. The two marathons and Three Peaks Challenge will follow his 12 challenges in 12 months that he undertook between 2019 and 2020 also in memory of his father.

A year after his father’s death, Daniel decided that he wanted to give back to the BHF as a thank you for its life saving heart research and ongoing support. Daniel took on 12 sponsored endurance challenges over 12 months in 2019, raising £3,000. Now, he wants to take his challenges even further by completing the Edinburgh Marathon, London Marathon and the Three Peaks Challenge for the BHF in 2021.

Daniel said:
“Last year’s 12-months of challenges pushed my body to the limit and I couldn’t have done it without the support of friends and family who joined me when they could. Dad was a very sociable man so I chose events that would reflect this. With all that has happened in the world, I want to go further and push harder to raise even more money for the BHF during such a financially difficult time for the charity.”

On 17th December 2017, Daniel’s father, David Sykes had organised a Christmas party for his family and had set out to deliver Christmas cards to his neighbours before the evening festivities began. It was during this heart-warming endeavour that David collapsed and sadly died from a cardiac arrest.

Daniel said:
“My lovely father who was 68 years old when he passed away, was an incredibly friendly man who was renowned in his village for his warm demeanour, outgoing personality and love for people and life. He was always the life and soul of the party, the heart of our family and a strong pillar in the community; everyone knew him and he was a friend to all.”

The shocking news devastated the family and the emotion rippled through the whole community.

Daniel continued:
“My father’s sudden death was a huge shock. He was a very popular man and appeared to be in good health. It hit our family incredibly hard, especially at Christmas time. Although he had slightly high blood pressure and cholesterol, we didn’t expect an event like this to happen.”

“My dad would have been incredibly proud of my year-long challenge and the three immense challenges I have signed up for in 2021. He would say I was doing a good thing for other people; he was always very generous and caring. He’d also say I was a bit mad!”

“I had always thought a marathon was out of my reach until I succeeded in last year’s 12 challenges in 12 months. When I saw how much money I raised, I knew that I was motivated enough to give not just one, but two marathons my best shot.”

Whilst day to day life, especially around New Year and Christmas, is still challenging for the Sykes family, Daniel keeps a brave face.

He continued:
“It does wear you down a bit, always putting on a front. But my dad always said that you must face up to pain and problems. He didn’t see the point of self-wallowing – he was a soft and caring man with strong traditions.”

Each year, more than 160,000 people lose their life to heart and circulatory diseases and currently 7.6 million people are living with these devastating conditions across the UK. If you would like to support Daniel and his cause to help to beat heartbreak forever, you can do so here:

About the BHF
The BHF’s Heart Helpline is open Monday to Friday between 9am – 5pm. The number to call is 0300 330 3311 or you can also email Calls to the Heart Helpline cost a similar rate to 01 02 numbers.
With donations from the public, the BHF funds ground-breaking research that will get them closer than ever to a world free from the fear of heart and circulatory diseases. A world where broken hearts are mended, where millions more people survive a heart attack, where the number of people dying from or disabled by a stroke is slashed in half. A world where people affected by heart and circulatory diseases get the support they need. And a world of cures and treatments we can’t even imagine today. The BHF are backing the best ideas, the brightest minds and the biggest ambitions - because that’s how we’ll beat heartbreak forever.