A LIFESAVING biker made it to the top of England twice in the same day as part of a mammoth fundraising drive.
Tony Hudspith swapped his leathers for hiking boots to climb 3,200ft up Scafell Pike, in the Lake District, on Saturday.
And when the 38-year-old got to the bottom, he turned around and went back up again during a mammoth 12-hour day.
The epic walk was for the Blood Bike service, a group of volunteers that drive vital blood supplies and medical equipment between hospitals on Teesside.
Tony, who is a volunteer driver for the service, told the Hartlepool Mail: “It was great going up Scafell twice and definitely worth it, but I would never do it again. It was the hardest thing I have ever done.
“The sense of achievement was great knowing we were doing it for a good cause, but it was tough going.”
Tony, who runs security firm Crusader Alarms, was joined by his brother Chris and four friends when he set off up the mountain at 7.30am.
And they had to brave wintery weather and poor visibility on their first journey before things briefly cleared when they reached the summit for the second time.
Dad-of-two Tony, from Seaton Carew, added: “There was snow, hail and wind. The conditions weren’t the best but we made it and were pleased to unfurl the banner at the top, twice.
“We got lots of encouragement on the way up through texts and Facebook messages and from fellow climbers, which made it a lot easier.”
The Blood Bike operation was set up as a satellite service under the Whiteknights charity by two Hartlepool police community safety officers (PCSOs), Jon Formstone and Mark Say.
It saves the NHS money by providing volunteer riders on evenings and weekends when the internal courier system is not working.
They transport vital items such as blood, diagnostic specimens and medical equipment between health sites in the area, including the University Hospital of Hartlepool and the University Hospital of North Tees, in Stockton.
They also have permission to use sirens as well as lights to safely make their way through traffic.
PCSO Formstone and PCSO Say were nominated in the Emergency Services Hero category of the Hartlepool Mail’s Pride of Hartlepool Awards, which took place last month, for their role in setting up the local service.
PCSO Formstone said: “quote to follow”
People can ring Tony to find out more about the service on 07970413437 or by visiting www.bloodrun.co.uk
They can also still support his fundraising effort by visiting http://uk.virginmoneygiving.com/team/bloodrun2012