Essex Dad's emotion-filled cycle raises over £2,000 for The Sick Children's Trust

James Eddleston cycled the exact route taken by the ambulance that transported his premature baby son from Chelmsford’s Broomfield Hospital to The Rosie Hospital in Cambridge, where he received life-saving treatment

A dad from Essex has completed a charity challenge tinged with emotion, raising over £2,000 for The Sick Children’s Trust after we supported his family with a ‘Home from Home’ when his premature baby was urgently transferred from Chelmsford’s Broomfield Hospital to The Rosie Hospital in Cambridge.

James Eddleston and father-in-law John Stow outside The Rosie. Credit: James Eddleston.

On Monday 27 May, 36-year-old Finchingfield resident James Eddleston cycled the exact route taken by the ambulance that transported his baby son Jude – who in June 2023 was resuscitated and placed on a ventilator after arriving six weeks early via emergency caesarean section – for life-saving treatment on the specialist neonatal intensive care unit (NICU) at The Rosie.

Accompanied on the 41-mile cycle by 60-year-old John Stow, his father-in-law and Jude’s granddad, James smashed his fundraising target of £1,500 to provide the most wonderful of thank yous to The Sick Children’s Trust and our ‘Home from Home’ Chestnut House, which gave James a warm and comfortable place to stay just minutes from where Jude, whose lungs were not working properly, was being ventilated. James said:

Baby Jude. James Eddletson.

“I honestly don’t know what I would have done without Chestnut House. I travelled to Cambridge by car, arriving just after Jude got there. I was stressed, bewildered, exhausted, and emotional. Faith, my wife, stayed in Chelmsford for three days while she recovered from her c-section, which was so difficult for her. She was inconsolable when she saw him in the transport incubator, with wires and tubes connected to his tiny body. It was a really difficult time, but being given a place to stay at Chestnut House, just two floors below NICU, made things just that little bit easier.”

After being discharged, mum Faith spent her days with James and Jude in Cambridge before returning to sleep at home, aiding her own recovery while also staying close to the couple’s young daughter, Maeve. Much to everyone’s relief, after six days Jude had recovered enough to return to Chelmsford, where he spent a further four days before finally coming home on 15 June. James said:

James (centre right) and John (centre-left) with Jude and Maeve. Credit: James Eddleston.

“I’ll never be able to thank The Sick Children’s Trust enough, but by completing ‘Jude’s Journey’ I’m trying to give something back to them, raising the funds they need to support families just like mine. It was a hard but very rewarding challenge. Riding through Finchingfield was the best part, as Faith, Jude and Maeve were waiting for us with balloons and a banner, wearing their Sick Children’s Trust t-shirts. It really gave us the boost we needed to keep going.

“I felt so proud but also quite emotional when we arrived at The Rosie. Seeing Chestnut House again and the PaNDR ambulances outside the hospital brought back a lot of memories, a strong reminder about why we did this. As I’m not a cyclist this was a big challenge for me. That said, I’m determined to raise even more money and awareness for The Sick Children’s Trust so hope to take on the 100 mile Ride London event next year.”

More information about James’s fundraising can be found on his Just Giving page:


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