A mountain of a challenge for Hartlepool man with chronic lung condition

Jon Whitfield who plans to tackle three European mountains despite living with a chronic lung condition.
Jon Whitfield who plans to tackle three European mountains despite living with a chronic lung condition.

A brave fundraiser will battle a chronic lung condition to climb three gruelling peaks in three European countries.

Hartlepool man Jon Whitfield has revealed his plans to gather cash for two worthy causes and he is doing it while he battles his own health conditions.

Natalie McLelland who is taking on a 26-mile walk for charity.

Natalie McLelland who is taking on a 26-mile walk for charity.

Jon, 49, a director of Aftersport which is a property investment company based in the Hartlepool

Innovation Centre, is having ongoing treatment for the chronic lung condition Sarcoidocis and Atrial Fibrillation.

Yet despite that, he is planning to complete his second Restart Rugby Alpine Challenge in September after taking part in the inaugural event last year.

As a warm up, he is taking part in the Yorkshire 3 Peaks on July 8, and is aiming to raise £250 for the British Heart Foundation. The gruelling 26 mile walk includes climbing Whernside, Inglebrough and Pen-Y- Ghent peaks in under 12 hours.

Everyone at the centre has been really supportive and all donations are greatly appreciated as I am hoping to raise £1,500

Jon Whitfield

Then comes the main challenge which involves completing three peaks in three countries – Italy, Switzerland and France - in three days.

Jon also plans to do a further five days of altitude training before attempting to climb Mont Blanc as an early 50th birthday present to himself.

He said: “Restart Rugby supports professional rugby players who are affected by serious injury,

illness or hardship and their families.

“Everyone at the centre has been really supportive and all donations are greatly appreciated as I am hoping to raise £1,500.”

But Jon is not the only fundraiser doing amazing work at the Innovation Centre.

Others have tackled everything from collecting food items for the local food bank to holding coffee mornings that help the Salvation Army buy toys for needy children.

ICT manager Natalie McClelland, 33, and from Hartlepool, works for Ad Astra Academy Trust, one of the latest tenants to move into the Centre on the Queens Meadow Business Park.

She tackled a 26 mile walk from Keswick to Ambleside with her husband to raise money for Macmillan Cancer Support.

She said: “We lost an aunt to cancer recently and a close friend has also been diagnosed with lymphoma.

“Macmillan helps thousands of people who are coping with cancer on a daily basis so I wanted to help. My husband Alastair and I decided to do this walk to raise funds and it was the longest distance I have ever tackled.”

Blazing sunshine greeted Natalie who said: “The route was extremely tough going but we have managed to raise £780 so far with more still coming in.”

Paula Addison of UK Steel Enterprise, said staff “all work hard to grow their businesses but always seem to find time to support each other, numerous charities and people in the town who need help. It is one of the things that makes the Innovation Centre such a good place to work.”

Any donations would be much appreciated for;

* Natalie at www.justgiving.com/fundraising/Natalie-McClelland1.

* Jon at www.justgiving/fundraising/Jon- Whitfield3 for British Heart Foundation.

* Jon at www.justgiving/fundraising/Jon-Whitfield4 for Restart Rugby.