'She would be proud' - 70-year-old takes on 300km tribute triathlon
- Credit: Charlotte Bond
A 70-year-old Martlesham man is taking on a triathlon with a twist for October, in memory of his late wife.
Cathy Dixon died in September last year from bone cancer leading to an outpouring of support and condolences for her family.
While life has been "tearful" over the last 12 months, Paul Dixon has focused on finding things to keep him busy including seeing his two sons and five grandchildren and meeting up with friends.
He also wants to raise money to make a difference in the lives of those suffering from cancer.
Speaking about his wife, Paul said: "She was a perfect person. I know everyone thinks their partner is perfect, but there were so many things about her that were.
"She idolised her grandchildren and they idolised her.
"She had so many friends - had we been able to have a normal funeral they'd have filled the church. And we must've got more than 180 condolence cards that said they'd miss her smile and chats.
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"She loved walking - with her friends and sisters - and was such a beauty and whenever I would ask 'why you, Cath?' she'd say 'why not me?'. She wasn't the type to complain."
The couple were married for 47 years and she experienced a battle with breast cancer before being told it had returned in her bones in 2018.
The couple knew it was incurable, but wanted to make the most of their time together and continued to travel abroad, go walking and spend time with their grandchildren.
Paul said: "She died at home, which was where she wanted to be, and I can't fault the hospital for the support we got. She had a bed in our bungalow and a hospice nurse, Pip.
"She didn't know much about those last days but people were there for her.
"I was sleeping in the room with her at the end and woke up about 3.15am on September 27, kissed her on the forehead and she was gone not long later.
"She didn't give up - it was just she didn't have anything left to fight with.
"When I asked her what she wanted for her 67th birthday she just said 'time' and we all wanted to be able to give her that."
Last year, he took on a 12-hour ping-pong battle to raise money for the cancer department at the hospital and now he's planning a 300km triathlon - with a twist - through October.
He's going to complete 100km distance in walking, cycling and canoeing in a bid to "do something a bit different to raise money" for Ipswich and Colchester Hospital's charity.
Paul's experience of cancer is very close to home, but he knows countless other people who have suffered from the disease.
He may be 70, but he's a "fit 70" and as long as he avoids staircases he's confident he'll see this challenge through, come rain or shine.
And what does he think Cathy would say?
Paul said: "I think she'd say you're 70 and mad. But she wrote me a letter before she died saying she was glad she married me, so I think she'd also be proud."