British ex-pat takes on tough challenge for Thai children

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A Bangkok-based British man has pushed himself to the limit with a grueling triathlon to raise money for disadvantaged children in Thailand.

Matthew Springall, 44, took on the Challenge Henley triathlon, in Oxfordshire, England, on Sunday 16 September.  For the challenge Matthew swam 3.2 kilometres in the Thames, cycled 180 kilometres and ran a marathon – all in aid of the Thai Children’s Trust.  The UK charity supports a number of projects for disadvantaged and disabled children in Thailand – including the Father Ray Foundation in Pattaya which looks after 850 orphaned, disadvantaged and abused children.

He was inspired to raise money for the Trust after visiting the Father Ray Foundation Children’s Home in July.  Matthew was very impressed with how the children were being looked after and educated at the Children’s Home but noticed some of the facilities were dilapidated and wanted to help raise funds so that improvements could be made.

Matthew Springall competes in the 180km cycling leg of the Challenge Henley triathlon on Sunday 16 September, Oxfordshire, England. Matthew Springall competes in the 180km cycling leg of the Challenge Henley triathlon on Sunday 16 September, Oxfordshire, England.

He says: “I had already signed up to do the triathlon and was looking for a charity to support.  By chance I found out about the Father Ray Foundation and went to visit.  What I was really impressed with is the emphasis on the children receiving a good education.

“The fact that kids from the home are now going to university is fantastic because that shows that the Children’s Home is really making a difference and giving these children a better chance in life.”

Thanks to taking part in the challenge Matthew is now set to raise £1,500 (around 75,000 Thai Baht) for the Trust which will be used to make improvements to the Father Ray Children’s Home’s kitchens, bedrooms and bathrooms.  He also performed his personal best by completing the triathlon in 13-and-a-half hours.

Ruth Flanagan, Fundraising Coordinator at Thai Children’s Trust, says: “We are so appreciative to Matthew for doing such a tough challenge to raise money for the charity.  He can rest assured that his efforts will help improve the lives of the children at the Father Ray Foundation, many of whom have come from incredibly tough and disadvantaged backgrounds.”

Donations are still open for Matthew’s triathlon – visit: www.justgiving.com/Matthewspringall.  For more information about Thai Children’s Trust visit http://thaichildrenstrust.org.uk.