Joe Roy's fundraising challenges in memory of friend Stuart Gray
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However, his latest series of fundraising challenges are ones he’d rather never had to undertake.
For they have been done in memory of his colleague, PC Stuart Gray, who also lived in Carluke and sadly passed away on January 27 this year, aged just 29.
Stuart’s death came like a bolt out of the blue – he was young, fit and healthy; however, he had an underlying heart condition he knew nothing about.
Joe (48), who has been a PC with the British Transport Police since 2008, formed a fast friendship with Stuart when he signed up seven years ago.
That friendship, marked with banter, was firmly cemented when Stuart bought a new flat in Carluke – it was Joe’s old flat that he’d sold two years previously! The pair enjoyed many a night there, enjoying a few drinks while playing darts.
Losing Stuart so suddenly had a big impact on Joe and he was determined to raise funds in his memory for the British Heart Foundation.
It all started with a punt on social media – asking folk to offer him cash to shave off the bushy beard he had cultivated for years. He was offered £200 and duly dared to bare, albeit he’s now grown back a small goatee that his wife Tracy wants him to keep short!
That got Joe thinking about how he could raise more funds and the Stuart Gray Memorial Trials were born – a series of five physical challenges he hoped people would sponsor.
The first, in August, was a one hour body attack class at Carluke Leisure Centre – wearing a morph suit. The next saw him doing a 400 metre farmers walk, carrying 40kg dumbells and the third saw him wearing a 20kg weighted vest for a bleep test – both of which were also done at the centre.
For his fourth challenge, Joe wore a 20kg vest and carried two 16kg cast iron kettle bells to scale Tinto Hill on October 2. The following day, he completed the fifth challenge – a ten mile run round Carluke, completing 50 press ups at the end of each mile too.
Joe was in the army from 1995 to 2000, first attached to the Royal Anglian Regiment in Cambridge and then The King's Own Scottish Borderers at Dreghorn Barracks in Edinburgh, before joining the police, so physical challenges are nothing new.
However, the trials have been more challenging than he expected.
He explained: “It’s been quite emotional, especially when I reached the summit of Tinto.
“For as much as I enjoy doing physical challenges, these are ones I wish I’d never had to do.
“It’s been incredible, though, watching the money going up for the British Heart Foundation as I know it’ll help families who are going through similar situations as Stuart’s.
“I’d like to say a huge thanks to everyone who has donated and supported me, including Martin Green who joined me on four of the challenges to film them, my wife Tracy and our children Andrew (28), Chloe (26) and Caleb (12).
“I was initially aiming to raise £1000 – I never thought in a million years that I’d get to more than £7000.”
The fundraising culminated on Saturday when Joe held the first Stuart Gray Memorial Darts Tournament at Carluke Bowling Club; it is set to become an annual event in memory of his friend.
An incredible prize raffle and some 40 players helped swell the coffers to £8189.
Joe added: “I work at Glasgow Central Station so all of the businesses there donated prizes for the raffle. I can’t quite believe how much has been raised.
“Stuart and I had quite a bit of banter; he would have been standing on the sidelines having a good laugh during the trials, especially when I was in pain!”
To donate, visit www.justgiving.com/fundraising/Joseph-Roy.
Among those at the inaugural Memorial Darts Tournament on Saturday was Stuart’s dad, David.
The family have been incredibly touched by the support Joe has shown and the amount raised in Stuart’s memory.
David said: “January 27 this year brought our family the worst news imaginable, the sudden passing of a son and brother.
“The work the British Heart Foundation is doing in progressing research into many genetically linked conditions cannot be underestimated.
“The trials that Joe set himself and completed in memory of Stuart and on behalf of the British Heart Foundation are nothing short of remarkable.”
In a bid to reach £10,000, Joe will be taking on one final challenge – walking 100,000 steps in one day while wearing a 20kg weight vest, with the date still to be confirmed.