A Stakeford man and his three colleagues have completed their epic charity adventure.
HMS Ocean Petty Officers Chris Orkney, Kieran Woodward, Jamie Marples and Steve Groves have raised more than £10,000 for The Sick Children’s Trust and the Children’s Heat Unit Fund (CHUF).
The By Any Means trek from Plymouth to Newcastle started on Friday, May 12, and they reached Scott House, Newcastle, last Friday morning to meet charity representatives and the ship’s captain, Rob Pedre.
They were not allowed to spend any money, which meant they relied on the support of the public, businesses and organisations to get to their destination.
Challenges were set by fellow officers to bring in extra funds, such as singing a hymn in a cathedral, getting onto the roof of Meadowhall Shopping Centre in Sheffield and going to iconic places in London.
Chris grew up in Ashington and today he lives in Stakeford with wife Nicola and their two sons – Declan and Locklan.
He wanted to do something to thank the charities for their efforts and support when three-year-old Declan needed major open-heart surgery at the Freeman Hospital.
Chris said: “We had such an amazing trip and we’d like to say a huge thank-you to everyone who helped us along the way and all those who have made a donation.
“The overwhelming generosity of the British public over the week made it evident that it’s Great Britain, not ‘Broken Britain’.
“We were so emotional having completed the challenge and we weren’t expecting to see so many children at Scott House. It was then that what we were doing really hit home for my colleagues.
“The money we’ve raised will help both charities make a huge difference to many more families going through the most traumatic times.”
Declan was just four months old when he was diagnosed with a hole in the heart and the required surgery to fix it took place in September 2016
During this period and when he was recovering on the children’s heart unit, Chris and Nicola were supported at Scott House, free Home from Home accommodation located on the hospital grounds run by The Sick Children’s Trust.
The four officers received lifts from members of the public, a fire service in Birmingham and the North West Ambulance Service during the journey and people paid for train tickets, including a former Royal Navy officer they met in a hotel.
Rail and bus companies allowed them to travel for free, including Great Western Railway (Bristol to London), London Midland (London to Birmingham), National Express (Nottingham to Sheffield coach), TransPennine Express (Sheffield to Manchester train) and Arriva (Durham to Peterlee bus).
Hotels and B&Bs, including Indigo in Newcastle, allowed them to stay overnight without charge.
Donations can still be made online at http://bit.ly/2psz7sk