North Tyneside Dad Completes Gruelling C2C5 Challenge

23 July 2014, 15:27 | Updated: 30 March 2016, 13:50

Ivan Hollingsworth, whose son Seb was treated by surgeons at the Children's Heart Unit at the Freeman in Newcastle, has completed a gruelling 202 mile coast to coast challenge.

In all, ten people from the North East have joined Ivan, making their way on very bendy route from Whitehaven, where they started on Sunday, to Tynemouth's Longsands beach.

A number of the nurses from the Children's Heart Unit at the Freeman Hospitalhave joined the team on that final leg from Monument to Tynemouth. 

A Durham Council exercise instructor has become the first woman to take on the four-day charity challenge. 

Helen Tones, from Gilesgate in Durham took part in the challenge along with nine other men.

They've been raising funds for CHUF - The Children's Heart Unit Fund.

The group have cycled, swam and ran their way across the country before finally touching their toes into the North Sea at Tynemouth this afternoon. 

This is the fifth time the challenge has been attempted.

It was devised by CHUF trustee Ivan Hollingsworth and his friend Andrew Roberts.

Both have completed the previous four.

Helen said:
"I'd heard lots about the past C2C challenges, but had never felt confident enough to be able to either complete the challenge or do the team and myself justice."

However, mum Helen, aged 39, was won over earlier this year when she decided to take part in a day-long 200km duathlon, which also raised funds for the Children's Heart Unit Fund (CHUF).

She said,
"I was running in front of Ivan and I heard him talking to somebody else about where the proceeds were spent and how every penny was really crucial.

Then said there's always coffee and cake waiting for the team at the end of each day. That got me over the line!"

Ivan said:
"We're so thrilled to have Helen on board. She's a tough, determined character and an incredible athlete. There's no doubt she'll put quite a few of us in her shadow across some of those daunting climbs.

I know all ten of us will enter the challenge with some trepidation, but that team spirit and camaraderie - and of course remembering why we're all doing it in the first place- is a massive motivation for us all."     

Ivan's own son, five year old Sebastian, is a beneficiary of the heart unit at the Freeman Hospital.

When he was just days old, Seb underwent lifesaving heart surgery. 

As well as Helen and Ivan, who lives in North Tyneside, and pal Andrew Roberts, from Chester Le Street, the seven other participants are:
  Michael Hooley, from Cramlington in Northumberland
  Martin Wilson from Cassop in Co Durham
  Bruce Smith, from Durham
  Jeff Brown, a detective inspector for Northumbria Police
  Neil Sleeman from Coxhoe in Co Durham
  Simon Wells, from Newcastle-upon-Tyne
  Pete Evans, from Durham
Anyone wishing to donate can text CHUF99 and the amount to 70070 or visit