Southrepps publican’s gruelling challenge in memory of dad

A brother and sister will join teams of 'superheroes' this weekend to pay tribute to their late father's fighting spirit

Southrepps publican Debbie Briggs, and cabinet maker brother David Walker, from the Fifer's Lane area of Norwich, hope to raise �2,000 for a heart hospital charity by completing the Norfolk Superhero Challenge - a gruelling one-mile open water swim, four-miles of kayaking, 38-miles cycle ride and seven-mile run across tracks, sand, mud and marsh in North Norfolk.

Their dad Peter Walker died age 75 last year after contracting both septicaema and meningitis, but had his life lengthened by two triple heart bypass operations at Papworth Hospital in Cambridgeshire - both done by the same surgeon Professor John Wallwork - in 1985 and 2009.

Electrician Mr Walker, from Marlborough Road, Norwich, enjoyed motorcycles and in his sixties built his own bike and took up sprint bike racing which he continued into his seventies.

He appreciated the extra years that Papworth Hospital gave him, and David and Debbie decided raising funds for the hospital was the best way of saying 'thank you' on behalf of the family.

Debbie, 43, who runs the Vernon Arms with husband Paul, said: 'He was astounding, against all the odds he fought his way out of the deepest coma and we really thought he was going to pull through, but by then other complications became insurmountable.'

Preparations for the Superhero Challenge was also the incentive for her to get fit. Her brother 40 had a 'head start' by cycling to work from Norwich to Fakenham a couple of times a week. Debbie's son Sam, nine, and David's daugher Lily , six, have been out on their bikes acting as pacemakers on their training runs.

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They are among more than 60 teams of two tackling the event at Burnham Overy Staithe on Saturday June 18.

Debbie added: 'Our dad always thought we could achieve anything if we put our minds to it, we hope he was right!'

Mary Liley, director of development for the Papworth Hospital Charity which funds hospital patient support and medical developments, said: 'I wish David and Debbie the best of luck for the Norfolk Superhero Challenge. We are extremely grateful to them for raising funds for Papworth Hospital Charity in memory of their dad and I'm sure that they will have many supporters cheering them on their way.'

To sponsor David and Debbie, who teams is called Pops Nuts, go to

Information about the event and other competitors at

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