YOMPERS, ice hockey players and a coast-to-coast walker have helped to boost a fundraising drive launched by a grieving man whose wife and eldest daughter died in a road smash.
Ian Richardson says money is pouring in for the Jo and Mya Memorial Fund – set up in memory of his wife Joanne, 40, and daughter Mya, six, who died after an accident on the A1 in Newcastle in August last year.
Their car was hit by another which was travelling the wrong way along the road.
His younger daughter Ava survived the crash.
Since the tragedy, Ian, who runs a marketing and communications firm on the Queens Meadow Business Park, in Hartlepool, has spent much of his time fundraising to help children who have lost loved ones.
He thinks £11,000 may now have been raised.
Ian, of Blake Close, Billingham, says the public seemed to have taken the cause to their hearts and he had just come through a busy weekend of charity events and cheque presentations.
l Players from the Billingham Comets and Whitley Warriors ice hockey teams met up for a charity encounter at the newly opened Billingham Forum which attracted 500 people.
Their match and a subsequent race night are thought to have raised around £1,000 for Ian, who is a former ice hockey defence man and played for the Billingham outfit for around 19 years until he was 33.
Ian, now 38, won an Award For Inspiration in the Mail’s first Pride of Hartlepool Awards in March.
He said: “It was nice to watch. There was a part of me which was saying ‘I could do that again’ but I think it was more ego than reality.”
“My priorities have changed and I have Ava to think of.”
l Coast-to-coast walker Brian Baines, 41, a project worker for Barnardo’s and who is from the Owton Manor area of Hartlepool, raised £1,054 for the fund after walking 106 miles from Maryport in Cumbria to Jackson’s Wharf, in Hartlepool, in 48 hours.
Ian said: “It is hard enough to do a coast-to-coast walk, but to do it in 48 hours is amazing.”
l Around £7,000 was raised by two sets of people who tackled yomps.
In May, Ian and a group of friends yomped up Ben Nevis, Helvellyn, Scafell and Snowdon.
Days later, he joined friends and family for a mini-yomp up Roseberry Topping, near Great Ayton, in North Yorkshire.
The children who took part in the mini-yomp were presented with T-shirts and certificates for their efforts.
Ian added: “People are bringing money in all the time and we are almost at the stage where we can start using it, where we can start to think how we can start helping people by making a difference.”