From canoe to cycle for cool idea

FIRST it was a skydive, then it was a wacky John Darwin-inspired canoe trek.

Now 60-year-old chimney sweep Bob Waite has another idea up his sleeve to raise cash for charity.

Bob and his daughter Gayle, 34, and nephew David Boyd, 23, are to cycle 60 miles along the River Wear.

The determined trio are taking part in the punishing bike ride to raise £550 to pay to bring an ice rink to Blackhall Community Centre this Christmas.

Bob has already raked in £2,500 thanks to donations from kind-hearted businesses and residents in the village, who he thanked for all their efforts.

County council representatives Alan Cox and Rob Crute have also pledged money towards the cause and the trio have also been supported by Peterlee and District Lions and Blackhall Regeneration Partnership.

Bob, who lives in Arnold Avenue, Blackhall, and is married to Denise, said: “It’s going to be Blackhall’s Winter Wonderland on December 10 and 11.

“I’m hoping this bike ride is going to get us at least another £550 towards the cost.

“I have been trying for a couple of years to get some funding for a mobile ice rink in Blackhall.

“You get them in the towns and cities, like Hartlepool and Sunderland, but never in Blackhall.”

Bob, who is a member of the Peterlee and District Lions Club, and residential care worker Gail, who is mum to Charlie Campbell, 15, together with David, will cycle the length of the Wear, starting at Allenheads in Northumberland, and ending at Wearmouth in Sunderland.

They hope to complete the course in nine to 10 hours at the end of the month.

Bob, who is also dad to Tracey Coverdale, 35, and grandfather to Katie Coverdale, 11, and Maisy Coverdale, four, said: “We have done a 28-mile bike ride from Blackhall to Thorpe Thewles in preparation.”

They will be accompanied by support driver David Williams in a truck loaned by Blackhall-based Wearside Contractors.

Previously, Bob has completed a parachute jump to raise money for Horden man Dick Graham’s Schools for Gambia charity, as well as “The Darwin Experience” which saw him and Gayle kayak from Hartlepool to Crimdon in 2009 and from Seaham Harbour to Hartlepool’s Heugh Breakwater and back last year to raise money for Peterlee Lions and the RNLI.

Anyone wishing to sponsor the trio can call (0191) 5865809.