Eight-year-old Gabe Irwin completed his first ever charity challenge – and his inspiration came from a very special lady his Grandma, and our founder, Sue Irwin.  

Gabe was amongst the first participants to take on our 24/7 Challenge and he set himself the ambitious task of completing a 24.7mile bike ride along with his dad Marc.  

He completed his challenge in just over three hours raising an incredible £779 for the 24/7 care our hospice provides to seriously ill children and families.  

Haven House Children's Hospice was first conceived in the early 1990s, as the brainchild of Gabe’s Grandma Sue, a registered nurse and health visitor, who with friends and colleagues founded the charity to provide care to life-limited children and their families at no cost to them. 

It was while she was working as a health visitor in Dagenham in the early 1990s that she became aware of the need for a local children's hospice. She worked closely with a young boy, Gary, who had severe disabilities. Sue recognised that he and his mother needed respite from the rigorous demands of care that were placed on them. There was nowhere close to home that could offer this kind of support.

Sue realised the isolation that resulted from caring for a child with complex medical needs and sought to provide a place of beauty and tranquillity that could offer professional support for all the family - we are so proud that that place is our hospice, Haven House. 

Mum Ellie explained:

Sadly, Gabe never got to meet his Grandma Sue, but he has been lucky enough to visit and see what an amazing place it is. He’s old enough to understand the terrible impact COVID-19 has had on the hospice’s fundraising and wanted to do something himself to help Haven House.  

Fundraising runs in Gabe’s family with Ellie having recently completed 26.2miles (battling treacherous conditions) in the virtual London Marathon on Sunday 4 October.

Ellie continued: “Gabe is very proud of our family’s connection to Haven House, and he saw me training for the marathon and wanted to try a challenge of his own. He enjoys cycling with his Dad but had never ridden as far as 24.7 miles before. He thought cycling such a distance would be good exercise and a great way to challenge himself.”

We are immensely proud of Gabe. It’s such a huge achievement - I had a little cry when they arrived home after the challenge! We’re really grateful to everyone who supported him. We know it’s not an easy time for so many people, which makes the generosity of everyone even more meaningful.

Feeling inspired? Would you like to take on our 24/7 Challenge?