Meet ‘Team Awesome’…a group of 21 men and women, mainly from Bicester, Oxfordshire (and many who live on the Kingsmere estate), who gave up their Bank Holiday weekend this May to don their walking boots and complete the National Three Peaks Challenge in aid of Tommy’s, the baby charity.

The mountain challenge is a total walking distance of over 23 miles and involves climbing up (and down!) the three highest peaks in the UK – Ben Nevis, in Scotland, which is 1345m, Scafell Pike, in England, which is 978m and finally Snowdon, in Wales, which stands at 1085m.

Many personal experiences inspired members of the team to take on this challenge, as part of Joel’s Heroes, a local Bicester based charity that raises money for Tommy’s in support of funding research, saving babies’ lives. The top of the mountains was the perfect place to reflect and remember the reason the team came together, with bubbles and windmills blown in memory of the babies who are no longer with us. The team also left Bicester Rocks at the top of Snowdon to share our experience with others.

Having taken on this epic National Three Peaks Challenge as a large group of 19 walkers and 2 drivers, the team were proud to complete each mountain together, in a   respectable 29 hours as one team, with one shared goal. As part of the peak challenge, Joel’s Heroes have been fundraising since January this year and with thanks to the generosity of friends, family and the local community, have smashed their target so far raising £10,469 for Tommy’s.

A fantastic team effort on these gruelling mountains fighting through the elements including snow, ice, wind and sun; overcoming highs and lows; with sweat, tears, laughter and smiles. But above all, an awesome team spirit and memories which will last forever.

Visit Joel’s Heroes JustGiving page – https://www.justgiving.com/fundraising/joelsheroes For further information call – Vicky Hodgins on 07861 684095


Joel’s Heroes is all about a little superhero called Joel, who has beaten the odds, defied the medical journals and who inspires us every day to never give up!

Joel was born at 28 weeks, 12 weeks early. He spent 6 weeks in hospital in the John Radcliffe Intensive Care and High Dependancy Unit and then the Banbury Horton Special Care Baby Unit. It was a tough journey, but one that would only prepare us for the even tougher journey ahead. Joel showed us all his determination and spirit for life. He fought hard and came home just before Christmas.

Less than two months later, and after several emergency visits to A and E with breathing difficulties, Joel was admitted to hospital. After several nights, he was sent down to Intensive Care where he stopped breathing due to the mucous on his lungs and was ventilated.

Joel had caught bronchiolitis, pneumonia and flu and was in Paediatric Intensive Care for over 3 weeks on a life support machine, unable to breath for himself. We were told his chances of making it were so incredibly small, at our lowest point, we were told to say our goodbyes. Even writing this it brings a huge lump to my throat. The spirited, happy, ferociously determined boy that is Joel was not suppose to be  here. He was baptised and we didn’t leave him. We held his hand, stroked his head and we talked to him. We talked to him about everything and anything. About all the plans we had for him and the adventures  we would take him on. About his brothers and about how much we all loved him.

His prematurity had caused Chronic Lung Disease and the viruses he had caught were impossible for him to fight on his own. His lungs collapsed, and his body started to shut down, but he fought with every  ounce of his body. He needed to go to Great Ormond Street for ECMO, basically to take all of the blood out of his body and re-oxygenate it. A process that takes months and allows the heart and lungs to rest. GOSH wouldn’t take him as they decided he was too poorly to move. He couldn’t even be moved in his bed for daily cares.

On Mother’s Day 2015, with his brothers at his side, he opened his eyes for the first time in over 3 weeks. There was a huge cheer from all of the Doctors and Nurses that morning during their daily meeting and even some tears. The little boy, who was not suppose to ever open his eyes again had done so. He is our miracle, our Joel.

The Doctors were in awe of his fight and so are we. Since then, he has been in Intensive Care five further times, and in hospital into double figures. He has never been as poorly as he was, but has been incredibly poorly nonetheless.

Joel’s premature birth has given us a perspective we wished we never had, but one which has given us the strength and courage to never give up, to be thankful for every single day and to fight as hard as we can for all of the babies like Joel and those that never made it.

Joel’s Heroes has come about because Joel has inspired people to challenge themselves and achieve things that they never thought possible.


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