A tireless fundraiser has announced his latest mammoth challenge will also be his last.
Ivan Hollingsworth, from Whitley Bay, has raised nearly £500,000 for the Children’s Heart Unit Fund (CHUF) through his Seb4CHUF organisation.
But now the 41-year-old has announced his 210-mile coast-to-coast ultra triathlon at the end of the month will be his seventh and final attempt.
Ivan, whose seven-year-old son Sebastian needed life-saving heart surgery just weeks after birth, has completed a range of gruelling solo and group challenges from Whitehaven in Cumbria to Tynemouth since his first in 2010.
His final four-day challenge – which starts on Sunday, July 24 – looks set to be the biggest and best.
Ivan, who has since become a parent trustee for CHUF, said: “It’s sure to be an emotional and very challenging final crossing from the North West to the North East, but the time is now right to close the book on this particular chapter.
“The support I’ve received for this final C2C and all the other six challenges has been truly humbling, and thanks to that support, we’ve been able to achieve incredible things for those who need the medical and psychological support of the amazing Children’s Heart Unit at the Freeman Hospital.
“Those people saved my son’s life. It’s hard to know how you can ever really repay that gratitude and the C2C challenges have been the best way I know how.”
Since starting his fundraising, Ivan and his wife Nadine, who has also organised a number of fundraising balls, have raised close to £500,000, which has helped to fund a brand new indoor and outdoor playroom and assist with the provision of a three-strong team of play specialist nurses on the ward, which is just one of two specialist units in the UK capable of performing complex heart surgeries on babies and small children.
This year, Ivan’s route includes an 81-mile cycle route involving more than 10,000 metres of climbs across the north west on the first day.
Day two starts with a mile-long swim across Derwent Water before he and fellow participants climb back on the bike for a further 65 miles to Alston.
On the third day, the group run 37 miles to Corbridge before the final day sees a 26-mile run, finishing at Tynemouth Longsands during the afternoon of Wednesday, July 27.
Supporters from the north east and further afield have already pledged vital support to participants.
Main sponsors will be Essex-based chartered wealth management specialists, Crocus Wealth. Their director, Peter Norgate is an old family friend and has led the organisation of the vital support team for each of the six previous C2C challenges.
Peter will once again be undertaking those duties which will also see members of the Crocus Wealth team participate in the challenge also.
There are also a range of additional supporters, who have contributed vital products and services.
They include signage company DVLC, Richard Hardie Motors, BioSynergy, Start Fitness, AWP, Nick Gilks, Bike4Health, Kinesio UK, Northumbrian Water, SOS Hydrate, Peters Pies. Utilitywise, the North Tyneside commercial energy and utilities consultancy, has also made a substantial financial donation to the challenge.
Ivan, who was also named one of David Cameron’s first UK Points of Light recipients for his work on improving their community, added: “Without the help of these people, the C2C challenges simply cannot happen.
“Their support, no matter how large or small, means that every penny we raise can go directly to CHUF. I really cannot thank them all enough.
“While the curtain is closing on the C2Cs, this will not be the end of my work for CHUF. It’s an honour to be a part of the CHUF family.”
Chris Gray, CEO at CHUF, said: “Ivan and his family have dedicated so much of their own time and money to raising funds for CHUF and we’re truly grateful for everything they have done.
“They know better than most about how crucial it is for us to help children and their families achieve their dreams.
“We wish Ivan and all participants the very best of luck.”
For those who wish to support the challenge you can donate by texting CHUF99 and then £5 or £10 to 70070.
You can follow the progress of this year’s challenge on Twitter on #C2C7 or @Seb4CHUF.