‘Legal eagle’ recovers after completing 30 sports in 30 days

Fast and fun: David McWilliam (centre in yellow) pictured with Tony Bernard and members of the Dorset Destroyers wheelchair rugby club.

Dorset legal eagle David McWilliam is taking a well-earned rest after successfully completing 30 sports in 30 days.

The father of two raised more than £500 for the Steve Bernard Foundation after trying his hand at everything from archery, tennis and gymnastics to indoor rowing, water polo and boxing.

The charity was set up in memory of Steve Bernard, a talented footballer and former Bournemouth School student, who died in a car crash in 2005 at the age of just 18.

This year would have been Steve’s 30th birthday and to mark it fundraisers are being encouraged to carry out challenges over 30 days.

David, 45, said one of the toughest sports undertaken was tower running which involved running up and down the stairs at his firm, Ellis Jones Solicitors in Bournemouth, 30 times.

The tower run lasted 30 minutes and covered 1,710 steps, the equivalent of running up the Eiffel Tower in Paris.

“It was absolutely shattering,” said David, Ellis Jones’ Head of Personal Injury.

Other highlights included cycle speedway using a bike without brakes – “that was really hairy,” said David – and wheelchair rugby with the Dorset Destroyers. “Very fast and great fun,” he said.

Two years ago David was among 20 riders taking part in a 1,400 mile ‘Rome 2 Home’ from the Italian capital to Bournemouth, raising £32,000.

The cycling team, which included Steve’s dad, Tony, completed the challenge in 14 days and climbed more than 58,000 feet, the equivalent of 112 Blackpool Towers or 13 times up Ben Nevis.

David said: “The Steve Bernard Foundation is a brilliant charity and I’m really proud to support it.”

Since the foundation was formed in February 2006, it has gone on to raise more than £300,000 for sporting projects based across Bournemouth, Dorset and the South Coast.

To date, the charity has supported more than 200 projects covering more than 30 sports and four continents.

Tony, Managing Director and Trustee of the Steve Bernard Foundation, said: “We are indebted and absolutely amazed at the array and intensity of sporting challenges that David took on for our Foundation. He probably did more exercise in 30 days than most people do in 30 months!”

Note to journalists: Ellis Jones is one of the largest law firms in Dorset and West Hampshire with more than 140 staff including 12 partners. It has offices in Bournemouth, Canford Cliffs (Poole), Ringwood, Swanage and London offering a wide range of services to individuals and businesses.

For more details, please contact: Andrew Diprose, Director, Deep South Media Ltd, on 01202 534487.