A DEDICATED marathon man completed the gruelling distance for the first time and raised more than £4,700 for a Hartlepool charity.
Fireman Lee Dodgson had planned to show his support for Hartlepool & District Hospice at the Great North Run in 2011, but was devastated after a back injury prevented him from finishing the race.
But he more than made up for that when he completed this year’s London Marathon in an impressive three hours and 22 minutes.
And even more impressive was the total he managed to raise for the Wells Avenue-based hospice - £4,714.
That cash was raised through Lee’s relentless efforts to generate as much sponsorship as he could from friends, family, colleagues and local businesses as well as organising a number of successful fundraising events in the lead up to the marathon.
The 27-year-old who lives in Ryehill Gardens with his wife, Claire, 36, and step-son Aaron, 13, and works at Stockon Station, said: “It was a great day.
“It was very, very tough due to the heat, but I was over the moon with my achievement and to raise as much as I did for the hospice was brilliant.
“My mother-in-law works for the hospice so I asked whether any places were available from the marathon and it all went from there.”
It was a long-term ambition of Lee’s to complete one of the world’s biggest marathons and he was delighted to be able to do it and support a town charity at the same time.
He trained hard to ensure he was completely prepared for the gruelling distance as well as organising his fundraising events to make sure he raised as much as he could.
Hospice staff were overjoyed with Lee’s efforts.
The facility’s corporate fundraiser, Carol Sennett helped to secure sponsorship for Lee from a number of town businesses ahead of the race.
Carol said: “Lee’s hard work and determination has really paid off and he has raised an absolutely fantastic amount of money, which considerable exceeded his initiation fundraising target of £2,000.
“We are extremely grateful for his kindness and dedication.
“All of the money he raised will now be used to help give our patients and their families the support they need.
“A huge thanks also goes out to all of the fantastic businesses who got behind Lee and helped him reach this amazing total, the support is very much appreciated.”
The money Lee raised will help to maintain the specialist palliative care services offered by the hospice to residents in Hartlepool and East Durham.
To support the hospice call (01429) 855555 or visit www.hartlepoolhospice.co.uk