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Norfolk man set to take part in the London Triathlon in memory of sporting mentor

PUBLISHED: 11:52 08 June 2013 | UPDATED: 11:52 08 June 2013

James Chapman who is taking part in a Triathalon in memory of David Barnard who died of cancer. James is pictured outside the the former Barnard Sports shop in Attleborough where he worked for David. Photograph Simon Parker

James Chapman who is taking part in a Triathalon in memory of David Barnard who died of cancer. James is pictured outside the the former Barnard Sports shop in Attleborough where he worked for David. Photograph Simon Parker

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A former employee and family friend will take part in the London Triathlon in memory of a popular community figure.

James Chapman signed up to the event in a bid to raise money for the Beating Bowel Cancer charity, just weeks after the death of popular Attleborough figure Derek Barnard.

Mr Barnard, who owned the Barnard Sports shop, which built up a reputation for expertise in cricket bats and cricketing equipment, had been diagnosed with secondary liver cancer. He died in April this year.

Mr Chapman, 21, had worked in the shop part-time for four years before it closed in December after Mr Barnard was told he had less than six months to live. “I was only 16 or 17 when I started working for him and we bounced off each other – he taught me about sports I didn’t know and he used me to get into the younger community and learnt about sports he didn’t know,” he said.

“I was going to university, so I was back and forth and he always told me to come in and help when I got back and he was really supportive.

“He always took me to shows and events to see the new stock and gave me a really good opportunity to see behind the scenes.”

Mr Chapman, who will begin a teacher training course at the University of East Anglia in September and is working at Mr Barnard’s son-in-law’s shop Cycle Life in Attleborough, is now training for the event on July 28.

He hopes to complete a 1500m swim, 40km bike ride and 10km run in between two-and-a-half and three hours, and to raise at least £550 for the charity.

“I wanted to show what he did for me,” he added. “I wanted to do something that would challenge me and show the people who sponsored me that I’d put some effort in.

“I have to go out a couple of times a week and do 50 or 60 miles and you do get to the point where you wonder why you’re doing this, and then I remember that there is a reason.”

Barnard Sports was established by local man Fred Barnard in 1950 and his son Derek took over in 1986 following the death of its founder.

To sponsor James visit www.justgiving.comJames-Chapman333 or text CHAP47 and the amount to donate (£) to 70070.

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