A man whose mum and sister were killed by his controlling murderer father in Spalding said he has got back his “zest for life” through active fundraising.
Ryan Hart (28) and brother Luke (29) have worked tirelessly as Refuge Champions to raise awareness of domestic abuse since the 2016 murders, and Ryan has recently got even more active with a set of sport challenges – with a 24-hour three-peaks challenge across Scafell Pike and Ben Nevis on September 7/8.
“I’ve always been a bit sporty, but after the murders I found I lost my zest for life,” Ryan said. But getting active helped change this. “Mum, Charlotte and myself were making big plans for what we wanted to do and achieve with our lives together once we were free from our father. I wanted to pick challenges which represented something we used to once love – swimming for mum, hiking for Charlotte, and cycling for me.”
He has so far this summer completed Ride London and the Henley Swim Festival. He said: “The swimming and cycling challenges (four miles open water swim and 100 mile Ride London cycle) were both fun and emotional at the same time.
“Ride London reminded me of how much I loved cycling races and events; I’ve already entered the ballot for next year and am looking for other events to enter.
“Since doing the swimming challenge I have completed more open water swimming races too – both of these challenges have helped rekindle my love for competitive sport and helped to change my outlook on my life.
“Part of what I’m aiming to achieve is to prove to myself that I can go on and still live out these plans and ambitions that Mum, Charlotte and I had, even though they are no longer here me with.”
Ryan, who lives with Luke in Surrey, said his brother is happy to be a supporter.
The pair, who released a book in 2018, regularly talk on domestic abuse at conferences, with invitations coming in from Sweden, USA, Canada and Australia.
“Reliving the painful memories of our past takes an emotional toll on us, and we have recently become more aware of the need to balance our emotional wellbeing with our desire to keep spreading the messages of Mum and Charlotte.
“For the first two years I believed that July 19, 2016 was the end of my life also. What I’m most proud of, and what I think Mum and Charlotte would be proud of, is how Luke and I have been able to create something new with our lives and build ourselves back up from the lows we both went through following the murders. I was afraid of ‘moving on’ because I didn’t want to lose my memories of Mum and Charlotte. However, in becoming public advocates around domestic abuse, the positive memories of Mum and Charlotte are now being held even more clearly in my mind.”
To sponsor Ryan, visit https://www.justgiving.com/fundraising/ryanhartrefuge