Billingshurst aviation team take on Ironman for dementia

JPCT 110314 Iron Man challenge to raise funds for dementia charity.. Photo by Derek Martin SUS-141103-172600001
JPCT 110314 Iron Man challenge to raise funds for dementia charity.. Photo by Derek Martin SUS-141103-172600001

A Billingshurst aviation supplies team have organised a gruelling Ironman challenge to raise money for a dementia charity.

The team at Tailored Aviation have set their own arduous challenge to organise a big Ironman event for 100 contenders to support Know Dementia, a charity based near Albourne that runs many of its events in Henfield, including a jazz choir.

Director at the commercial aircraft spares and support company, Paul Bew, said the charity is close to his heart because his mother has alzheimer’s and his father, Bob Bew, has the strenuous task of being her full time carer.

“My mother was diagnosed with early onset alzheimer’s about seven years ago and my father is one of the trustees at Know Dementia,” said Paul.

“We have a fairly comfortable life at Tailored Aviation and we’re in an industry where we spend a lot of time sat down, so it’s good to give something back.”

The Aviation Ironman Challenge will take place at an assault course in Dorking, Surrey, which the team have hired.

With an enduring mix of running, wading through water, climbing, sliding and crawling, the 12 obstacles are a real testament to physical strength and stamina.

The hurdles go by daunting names such as ‘The Bomb Crater’, ‘Hamburger Hill’, ‘A Bridge Too Far’ and ‘Hell River’.

“There’s an awful lot of jumping into water pits, cargo nets and crawling under wire mesh,” said Paul.

In a practise run this month, the team took part in the 28k ‘Nuts Challenge’ in Surrey to test their limits.

“Honestly it was amazing,” said Claire World, another director at Tailored Aviation. “Last time we did it though there was water everywhere and it came up over my wellies.”

Paul said: “There was 200 people that took part in the four laps and only 12 finished.”

The day will also include a bouncy castle for kids, food, drinks and a disco to help raise additional funds.

“I’d love us to make £15,000 this year,” said Paul.

The age range to take part as it stands is 14 years and up. The oldest contender currently is in his 70s.

Trustee and chairman of Know Dementia Alex Morrison-Cowan said: “It’s absolutely amazing the amount of effort these guys have put in - firstly on the organisation side and secondly that they’re actually going to do it.”

Alex said that the money accumulated from the Ironman day will help go towards a new project at the charity.

“About 13,500 people have some form of dementia in West Sussex and that’s going to grow to about 15,000 in the next few years.

“We’re going to do a house that will be modelled on caring for people. This will be for respite and full time care. It will happen within the next five years, and it will happen because these guys are doing a fantastic job in raising funds.”

Paul said: “Mum is no longer aware that she has dementia, she’s actually very happy now, but my father who is a 24 hour carer is struggling. That’s what I like about Know Dementia they recognise the carer as a person too.”

The Aviation Ironman Challenge takes place on May 10 at ‘The Nuts Challenge’ course, Dorking, Surrey. To sign up email aviationironmanchallenge or visit