A Northumberland man and his three colleagues are hoping that members of the public, businesses and organisations will get on board with their epic charity adventure.
HMS Ocean Petty Officers Chris Orkney, Kieran Woodward, Jamie Marples and Steve Groves are hoping to raise £3,000 for The Sick Children’s Trust and the Children’s Heat Unit Fund (CHUF).
They will start the By Any Means trek from Plymouth to Newcastle tomorrow and they are aiming to get to Scott House, Newcastle, on the morning of Friday, May 19, to meet charity representatives and ship captain Rob Pedre.
They will be set various challenges along the way to bring in extra funds, although the first of those is to go to Land’s End in Cornwall so their distance to travel will be even greater.
Chris lives near Morpeth 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 in Newcastle.
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 (he was two-and-a-half years old).
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.
It costs the charity £30 to support a family with a seriously ill child for one night.
Chris, 34, said: “I wanted to do something major because we are so grateful to the team at Freeman Hospital and Scott House for giving us so much support during that time and I was delighted when three of my fellow officers agreed to join me on the adventure.
“By Any Means was an idea born in the mess on-board HMS Ocean and since then it has grown.
“The four of us will have to make our way up the gangway of HMS Ocean in Plymouth to Scott House with just the clothes on our backs, our ID cards and a mobile phone.
“We’ll have no money and will simply have to charm our way up north – relying on the support of the public, businesses and organisations – while completing challenges set by other officers.
“It’s a daunting prospect, but we’re really looking forward to the challenges.
“Personally, I’m hoping we get to go to London, as that will help with raising awareness of what we’re doing, and Sunderland, which is HMS Ocean’s affiliated city.
“Friends and family have been out in the community with paper sponsorship forms and they have raised more than £1,000 so far.
“Declan surprised us all with how well he did after the surgery. If you met him today, you’d never know what he’s been through – he’s no longer tired or breathless and has more energy than ever.
To find out more and support the By Any Means trek, visit http://bit.ly/2psz7sk