A PHOTOGRAPHER completed the Bolton Ironman in tribute to the support given to his wife in her recovery from breast cancer.

Tom Barker, an ex-Woodhey High student and former Rammy Rascals swimmer, decided to take on the gruelling 70.3 mile triathlon to raise money for Breast Cancer Now and show his gratitude to all the medical staff who cared for his wife Emma.

Starting from Pennington Flash Country Park, the race included a 1.2 mile swim around the flash, followed by a 56 mile bike ride and finally, a two-loop 13.1 mile run around Bolton.

Tom and Emma met 13 years ago, and it was on the first day of their honeymoon in Thailand in 2018 when Emma found a breast lump.

She kept her discovery from her husband until returning to the UK, but over the Christmas period of that year, Emma was diagnosed with two types of breast cancer, triple negative and oestrogen receptive.

This meant that Emma had to undergo two operations, 16 chemotherapy sessions, 15 rounds of radiotherapy and hormone therapy in order to give her a chance at beating cancer.

Amazed by the incredible care of his wife, Tom, 34, wanted to give back to the doctors and nurses that had supported his wife through her breast cancer diagnosis, treatment and recovery at Liverpool Royal Hospital, the Clatterbridge Cancer Centre in Birkenhead and the Lilac Centre in St Helens.

This spurred him on to take on the Ironman challenge alongside his neighbour, Warren Turley, who was fundraising for The Christie.

The photographer achieved eighth place in his age group for his swim with a time of 30 minutes 34 seconds, while finishing the 70.3 mile challenge in a time of 6:41:15.

Speaking of the care given to his wife, Tom said: “The treatment at Liverpool Royal Hospital under Dr Geraldine Mitchell was amazing.

"Dr Mitchell is such a caring and reassuring professional who took great care of Emma throughout her journey.

"We’d also like to thank Dr Helen Innis, consultant in Medical Oncology at the Clatterbridge Cancer Centre and the entire nursing team at The Lilac Centre in St Helens.”