family take on 'hardcore' event in son's memory

25 October 2016

The family of a teenage boy from Colchester will take on a challenging run and assault course to raise money for Havens Hospices which cared for him.

Jim Thumwood, 54, has put together a team made up of colleagues from the Army Reserve Centre in Colchester to take on the Havens Hardcore on Saturday 29th October at Castle Park to raise money for Little Havens Hospice in memory of his son, Jack. The event is the first the charity has held in Colchester and will see participants taking on a 5k run with a series of obstacles along the way.

Jim, a Squadron Quartermaster Sergeant at the Army Reserve Centre has enlisted colleagues to take on the challenge and raise money for Little Havens in Essex which cared for his son, Jack, in the two years before he died at home aged 14. Jack was two years old when tests showed that he had a brain tumour, although it was benign he needed surgery to remove it. During his recovery, Jack began developing other symptoms which led to him being diagnosed with another tumour on his adrenal gland which had grown up through the main artery into his heart. Jack needed more surgery and chemotherapy. Following successful treatment, Jack was clear of cancer for six years. Devastatingly when he was nearly ten, doctors found two more malignant tumours on his brain.

Jack was having treatment when the family were referred to Little Havens for respite.

Jim said,
“The minute you turn up at Little Havens to look around everyone is so friendly. We left the decision to Jack really and he said he’d love to go there. The hospice played a massive part in Jack’s life, and ours. You just felt Jack was in good hands there. We felt safe.”

Jack remained relatively well until two more tumours returned and further treatment didn’t work for him. He spent the last three months of his life being cared for at home, where he died aged 14 – he was then taken to the hospice where he stayed for a week in the Woodland Suite, a special bereavement bedroom.

Jim says,
“The day Jack died was a Sunday morning, at home. We had our time with him and the next time we saw him he was laid out in the bed at Little Havens in the Woodland Suite. He had his Manchester United Blanket over him, his clothes on and music playing.
The day after I was sat having dinner, I’d had about two bites and it just hit me. I had to get up from the table and sit with him. It broke my heart. The thought of Jack being in a mortuary drawer in hospital? No, no way. At Little Havens, we could still sit and talk to him. It gave us a whole week to say our farewells. I wouldn’t give it up for the world. I really wouldn’t.

Jim is now preparing to take on the Havens Hardcore with five team mates; Ross Gurney, Michelle Hughes, Dave Riley, Leofric Crumpton-Taylor and Tony Ingoe. Together they will tackle eight foot walls, barb wire crawl nets, monkey bars and balance beams in Jack’s memory for Little Havens, which provides free, specialist care for babies, children and teenagers from across Essex with life-limiting conditions.

Jack’s mum Allison, 50, will also be there on the day, cheering Jim and his team on and handing out medals to everyone who crosses the finish line.

The Havens Hardcore takes place on Saturday 29th October at 2pm at Castle Park in Colchester. Entry is £20 per person with group discounts available. Participants are encouraged to ask friends and family for sponsorship to raise money for the children’s hospice. Online registration is open now at or you can email Events Fundraiser Cathryn Wood or call 01702 220337.

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