English teacher Simon Cripps is celebrating his 40th birthday with 40 fundraising challenges to thank the NHS.

Simon, who teaches at Claires Court school in Maidenhead, has now raised over £10,000 for NHS charities with his challenges. They have included a gruelling 100km walk around Berkshire taking 18 hours, rowing the equivalent of the Channel, climbing the equivalent of the Three Peaks challenge (45,000 stairs), as well as creative challenges that other members of the community have joined in with.

He has personal reason to thank the NHS. In 2000, Mr Cripps was playing rugby for Harlequins U21s and regularly for his home team, Maidenhead RFC. He was celebrating scoring five tries in Maidenhead’s victory over local rivals Marlow.

He said: “I was decked out in not one but three grass skirts tied together to cover my ‘substantial posterior’ during a fun night in Amersham but it went horribly wrong. Someone decided it would be amusing to set fire to the skirts.

"I suffered burns to 43 per cent of my body and had life-threatening injuries.”

Seven months later, he ran out leading the team at Maidenhead onto the pitch, with a standing ovation from the crowd - all thanks to the dedicated care he received from the NHS.

Mr Cripps’ father was at the time an NHS dentist, his mother an NHS nurse and his younger sister is now an NHS GP. His wife Cara is also an NHS physio who has been working on the frontline during the coronavirus crisis.

He said: "My daughters Emilia, four and Olivia, two keep adding new challenges. Some of the 40 are sporting endeavours like a half marathon ending at Maidenhead Rugby Club, where I help train pupils from Claires Court on a daily basis. Some were more arts and craft based challenges, including making rainbows with my children for the NHS heroes.”

Mr Cripps has even had message of support on Twitter from England Rugby team coach Eddie Jones.

If you would like to help Mr Cripps pay tribute to the NHS visit https://www.justgiving.com/fundraising/eatsleeprugby or to read more about his challenges, visit https://www.instagram.com/sjscrippo/