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Halfway through 'Survive the 60', for Alzheimer’s

10 November 2017

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The remarkable sporting challenge by Sheffield businessman David Grey may be taking its toll.

However, despite several injuries, he's well on his way to completing his sporting marathon which finishes on Saturday at the Sheffield Steelers fixture against Manchester Storm.

David, chairman of the Sheffield City Trust (SCT) is more than half way through 'Survive the 60', a challenge to complete 60 different sports in six days to raise thousands of pounds towards the Alzheimer's Society.

David, 60, has taken part in numerous sports already including rowing, figure skating, badminton, water polo, snooker and wheelchair rugby most of which were hosted at various SIV sport facilities across Sheffield.

One of his latest was to play football with Sheffield United. He took to the pitch with the first-team squad, including captain Billy Sharp, to play 'tennis football' before joining goal keepers Jamal Blackman, Simon Moore and Jake Eastwood to practice some skills.

His sporting efforts have resulted in injuries including a bruise on his right thigh which he got from skateboarding, a black eye from diving off the substantial 10-metre board at Ponds Forge, a bruised knee from Curling and a ripped calf from playing basketball with the Sheffield Sharks.

Speaking from United's SteelPhalt Academy in Shirecliffe, David said: "Your body is very fragile, no matter how much you stretch or prepare, when you are pushing it to the extreme, you're bound to get injuries. But as soon as I start a sport the adrenalin takes over and I no longer seem to feel any pain - that is until I stop and then it returns.

"One thing I have learnt during this experience is, nothing is as easy as it seems, every sport demands that you control each and every part of your body in a coordinated manner. The professionals are very good at making what they do look like a walk in the park.

"Even sports like snooker requires attention to detail and skill as I recently learnt. If you move your head slightly or raise your elbow a centimetre, then your cue will move, and you will completely miss your shot."

Billy Sharp said: "It was a pleasure to have David join our training session. What he is doing is amazing and we all wish him the best for the rest of his sporting activities."

The most challenging sport David has faced so far is diving. He's not keen on heights and even less keen on launching himself headfirst from a height. David went to Ponds Forge and practiced off the 7.5-metre board watched by GB Olympic diver Freddie Woodward and trained by elite trainer Nigel Mills, before completing his final dive off the top 10-metre board.

David continued: "Wheelchair Rugby was definitely an experience and has probably been my favourite sport so far. You have players smashing into you from all directions trying to get the ball, but that was the thing I enjoyed the most."

So far David has raised more than £19,000 towards the Alzheimer's Society which helps improve the lives of people with dementia by offering information, advice and emotional support to people affected.

The 'Survive the 60' challenge forms part of a wider campaign, the 60/600 Challenge, which is the brainchild of Julie Brailey, wife of former SIV CEO, Steve. For her 60th birthday, Julie decided that rather than throwing a party, she would create an initiative to raise money for a cause close to her heart, the Alzheimer's Society, and ask 60 people to raise at least £600 for the charity.

David said: "No matter who you speak with, regardless their age or job, it's almost guaranteed that they will know somebody who is suffering from Alzheimer's. I'm proud to say I'm doing my part to help spread awareness and raise money for a worthy cause."

Currently around 850,000 people suffer with Alzheimer's in the UK, with numbers set to rise to over 1 million by 2025. For more information about the Alzheimer's Society visit alzheimers.org.uk


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