Father’s fundraising passes £419,000 mark

Ivan Hollingsworth with his son Sebastian and wife Nadine completes the end of his run.'Picture by Jane Coltman
Ivan Hollingsworth with his son Sebastian and wife Nadine completes the end of his run.'Picture by Jane Coltman

An inspirational father has thanked all those who supported his latest fundraising challenge.

Ivan Hollingsworth was joined by dozens of people in his latest Coast to Coast challenge to raise money for the Children’s Heart Unit at the Freeman Hospital in Newcastle.

Both Nadine and I are indebted to every single person who support us whether they donate money or put themselves through hell on these challenges

Ivan Hollingsworth

Ivan, who’s six-year-old son Sebastian had life-saving heart surgery at the Freeman as a newborn in 2009, and his wife Nadine have raised £400,000 over the last five years, helping to pay for a new playroom at the unit.

And the latest C2C6 challenge – which included swimming, cycling and running over four days and 202-miles from Whitehaven to Tynemouth – aimed to raise £25,000 for a specialist play nurse at the unit.

The fundraisers were greeted last Wednesday on Tynemouth Longsands by a large crowd and a C2C logo drawn in the sand by lifeguards.

Ivan, 40, of Monkseaton, said: “As usual it was brutal. I don’t think the elements helped.

“It was cold, wet and windy which made it a lot harder.

“The bit that always makes me feel most proud is the fact we had a few of the nurses from the heart unit join us, including who guy who cared for Seb while he was in intensive care.”

So far, more than £20,000 has been raised, with donations still coming in.

Ivan said: “Both Nadine and I are indebted to every single person who support us whether they donate money or put themselves through hell on these challenges.”

“I don’t believe in inspirational people, just normal people doing inspirational things, that is what our challenge is.

“It’s just a group of normal people doing something pretty amazing that will change the lives of poorly children, and that is pretty cool.”

Ivan, a pharmaceutical sales manager, added: “We started this when we were sitting beside Seb’s bed in intensive care and asked how much the equipment was that was keeping him alive.

“When they said it was £125,000 we said we would raise that but it might take five or six years.

“We have now raised £415,000 in those six years. We’re just normal people. We could never have imagined raising this.

“It’s not just me.

“We’ve raised this amount because of how many amazing people have supported us, people who have no link to the heart unit who have taken time off work to raise thousands of pounds which they won’t have any benefit from.

“We’ve only achieved this because of the people we’ve got around us.”

Ivan said there would be a C2C7 next year as they look to raise £75,000 over the next three years to pay for the nurse.

“There will be a C2C7 but I couldn’t think about training for that as I’m still tring to recover my legs from this challenge,” he said.

“Every event is different from the last one, this one was special. I’ll never stop doing stuff to support CHUF to raise money. I’m not going anywhere for the next couple of years.”

Chris Gray, head of fundraising for CHUF, said: “Nobody would have thought any less of the Hollingsworth family had they chosen to complete their fundraising efforts for CHUF after the opening of the playroom at the end of last summer.

“Instead, they’ve chosen to continue to do all they can to carry on assisting with CHUF’s vision to help more children achieve their dreams. They’re an inspiration to everyone connected to CHUF and to the Children’s Heart Unit.”

Those wishing to still donate can text CHUF99 followed by £5, £10 or £20 to 70070.