A bereaved grandad is preparing for a day of mud, water and obstacles as a way of raising funds and thanking the children’s hospice that helped his family during a “heart-wrenching” time. Ziggy Nash has signed up for The Boss Hog – an event featuring more than 40 obstacles over a sapping seven-mile course – to show his gratitude to East Anglia’s Children’s Hospices (EACH).
The charity offered invaluable support when granddaughter Violet-May died in October 2021, aged just ten days old. She had a serious heart condition known as hypoplastic left heart syndrome, as well as pulmonary valve dysplasia and mild pulmonary valve regurgitation, and received end-of-life care at The Nook.
Ziggy said it was a devastating time for his daughter, Baylee, and her partner, Tom Pipe, but, amid their heartache, they found comfort and support at The Nook.
“Seeing Baylee go through something like that was absolutely heart-wrenching,” said Ziggy, who lives in Norwich.
“It was awful and horrendous. As her dad, I felt completely helpless. There was so little I could do, apart from being there and offering support to Baylee and Tom. However, EACH was amazing every step of the way and I can’t imagine going through something like that without the support of so many kind, caring people.
“We were welcomed with loving arms and looked after so well, even down to making sure we had enough to eat and drink. I think the hardest thing was telling my two youngest children, who were then ten and 11.
“I was dreading it and didn’t know how to explain such an awful thing. However, we had fantastic support from one of the counsellors. She helped us and gave us great advice in terms of the language to use.
“The Nook is an incredible place and we’ll always have a connection. We still go back for events and people remember us. We certainly don’t feel forgotten about and that means a lot.”
Ziggy and other family members took part in The Piglet Junior Hog fundraiser in July 2022, raising nearly £2,000. Now the 37-year-old, who lives in Norwich, is preparing for a tougher challenge, The Boss Hog, on 8th October. The fundraiser is taking place at Wantisden Hall, in Wantisden Valley, Woodbridge.
He has rallied a team of 12, including friends and colleagues from Anglian Water and the IMRWR Alliance. They have called themselves Violet-May’s Water Boys.
“This is my way of doing something to raise more money,” he said.
“EACH will forever be a massive part of us all and, as a family, we want to help in any way we can. After taking part in The Piglet Junior Hog, I fancied doing something else and started reading about The Whole Hog. It sounded great but, for the sake of another couple of miles, and a few more obstacles, I thought I’d push myself and do The Boss Hog.
“I have a physical job but I definitely wouldn’t say I’m the fittest. So in the last six or seven weeks I’ve started doing the Couch to 5k app. I go out and run first thing and am enjoying getting stronger and stronger.
“Hopefully I’ll take it in my stride on the day. I’m certainly not worrying and expect it to be a lot of fun. I’m there as part of a team and there will be a lot of morale support and encouragement. Hopefully we’ll have a good laugh together.”
Ziggy celebrates his 38th birthday two days before The Boss Hog. Fittingly, Violet-May would have been two the day before, on 7th October.
“It’s certainly going to be a very different birthday, rather than sitting in the pub having a few beers,” he said.
“Hopefully I’ll be able to have a couple of pints afterwards to celebrate completing the challenge.”
To show your support and sponsor Ziggy, head here. There is still time to sign up for both The Whole Hog (30+ obstacles and a five-mile course) and The Boss Hog (40+ obstacles and a seven-mile course). To find out more and sign up, head here.