Gainsborough trio sign up for 100k challenge to raise money for defibrillators

A Gainsborough man who was the first person in the UK to have a pioneering type of heart surgery is joining forces with a world champion boxing champ to raise money to buy new defibrillators for their community.
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John Spriggens, 50, from Gainsborough, is teaming boxer and gym owner, Rico ‘Bon Bon’ Franco, 30, as they attempt to make at least £2,000 for the life-saving equipment.

The pair will be joined by John’s step daughter Rachel Overton, 42.

The trio have named their campaign Keep Hearts Beating and are organising a series of events throughout the next few months to make enough for two defibs, with any leftover money going to the British Heart Foundation (BHF).

John Spriggens, Rico ‘Bon Bon’ Franco and Rachel OvertonJohn Spriggens, Rico ‘Bon Bon’ Franco and Rachel Overton
John Spriggens, Rico ‘Bon Bon’ Franco and Rachel Overton

The challenge is even more poignant after John’s wife, and Rachel’s mother, Janice, died of a cardiac arrest while working at a local care home late last year.

Now John, Rico and Rachel want to make sure there are more defibrillators in their local community and plan to install one in South Moor Lodge Care home in Walkeringham where Rachel works, and one at Rico’s gym, Franco’s Boxing Club, in Gainsborough.

John, Rico and Rachel’s fundraising efforts will include a 100k challenge, which involves people covering 100k by running, walking, swimming or other methods over a five week period; a boxing event at Rico’s gym where anyone brave enough can take on the boxing champ; and a charity night finale in October.

The trio will be supported in the 100k challenge by a team from John’s workplace, Barry Fenton Insurance, and another team from South Moor Lodge care home.

Melanie Meik, BHF’s fundraising manager for Lincolnshire, said she was sure John, Rico and Rachel would meet and go beyond their fundraising target.

She said: “All three are motivated to raise money to help others in their community, and all three are incredibly inspirational themselves.

“I am sure they will raise all the money they need for two defibs and more, and any money that comes to the British Heart Foundation will be used to help fund the sort of research that has been so vital to help John.

To find out more about the challenge and to make a donation visit