It’ll be tough...Joe tackles the ‘Mudder’

Joe Connor, in training for the Tough Mudder event in memory of his fiancee's niece, Evie-Mae Thorp
Joe Connor, in training for the Tough Mudder event in memory of his fiancee's niece, Evie-Mae Thorp

A Todmorden footballer is taking on one of the toughest obstacle courses around this summer to raise money for the hospice which cared for his fiancee’s niece in her final days.

Little Evie Mae Thorp was born with eight different defects five of which were rare and complex heart conditions.

At the age of 23 months Evie had four operations in an attempt to prolong her life, two of which were open heart surgeries.

The Todmorden youngster was in intensive care for six weeks at the Leeds General Infirmary recovering from her most recent surgeries.

Her health began to fail, and she was moved to Martin House Hospice, at Boston Spa, Wetherby, to be cared for in her last hours. She passed away in February 2013.

So it is in Evie Mae’s memory that Joe Connor, aged 24, who plays for Woodhouse United, will attempt two challenges this summer.

One is the Colour Run in Manchester in July, an un-timed race in which thousands of participants are doused from head to toe in different colours at each kilometer.

But hard on its heels comes one of the toughest tests around.

Former Todmorden High School pupil Joe will be running the Tough Mudder at Broughton Hall, Skipton, on August 2, and it will take some stamina.

Joe said; “The Tough Mudder is a is a hardcore ten to 12 mile obstacle course designed by Special Forces to test your all around strength, stamina, determination, and camaraderie.

“Only 78 per cent of entrants successfully complete each challenge.

“Anybody who had the privilege to meet Evie would know just what a miracle she truly was. She was moved to Martin House to be cared for in her last hours and the support that Evie and her family received was second to none. I want to raise as much money as possible to help other families in the same situation as Evie’s family.

“Tough Mudder is something I’ve always wanted to do, and to do it in memory of the little miracle that is Evie will be a privilege and an honor. To me and you it’s a couple of quid, but to Martin House it makes all the difference.

“I would like to thank all those who have donated so far - I hope I can reach my target and do the little angel proud.”

To sponsor Joe you can visit the justgiving page at or alternatively you can text EMAE88£(your amount) to 70070.

Evie’s uncle, Mick Denton is also undertaking a triple challenge in her memory this year, taking in the Greater Manchester Cycle, the Manchester to Blackpool Bike Ride and the Jane Tomlinson run in Leeds, also to raise money for the hospice.

The family are determined to raise as much money as they can for the hospice which gave them some comfort at a very difficult time.