Phillip fights through the pain to complete marathon Christ Church challenge

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HE did it!

Welder Phillip Sumpter, who suffers an excruciating knee problem, has completed a marathon challenge by continuously climbing up and down the 164 steps of the tower at Christ Church Art Gallery, in Church Square, Hartlepool.

Philip Sumpter coming down stairs in Christ Church.

Philip Sumpter coming down stairs in Christ Church.

By carrying out the tall order during a two-hour period the kind-hearted 50-year-old, who walks with a crutch, has raised £500 for town-based charity The Kay Smith Research Fund.

Phillip, who is dad to Alicia Charlotte, 21, and lives in the town’s Park Road, had dubbed the feat “Steps to Heaven” and kept focused by listening to his digital radio.

He admitted after an hour he started to wane, but he was determined to complete the challenge for such a good cause.

Phillip, who used a strategy of “one step with the bad leg, two with the good” to complete the challenge, said: “It was great.

“It was a good flow up and down for the two hours.

“I found it no problem to do.

“The inspiration of listening to music was lifting me.”

He said a friend, Richard Shaw, who is over from America, was there to witness that he completed the challenge.

“I thought I would be tired, but I was alright,” added Philip.

“I would do it again.”

Phillip’s knee problems began seven years ago when he slipped over and fractured his kneecap seven years ago.

He was fine for five years, but two years ago his kneecap turned septic.

Now he walks with crutches and is waiting for a knee replacement.

He said he used to job and cycle but because he can’t do that now because of his knee he keeps fit by walking up and down the steps at the transport interchange in Church Square.

But despite his predicament, he was determined to take part in an endurance challenge in aid of the research fund.

He chose to support the cancer charity as his mother Nancy suffered from the disease.

Phillip was sponsored to do the challenge by the town’s One Life Centre, 23 Taxis and TAG Energy Solutions, which develops offshore wind turbines.

The money raised will be distributed between Cancer Research UK and a child bereavement counsellor at Hartlepool & District Hospice.

The fund was set up eight years ago in memory of Kay, who lost a year-long battle with breast cancer, and has raised more than £180,000

Kay Smith’s niece, Leaza Cafferkey, said: “It’s thanks to people like Phillip that help keep the fund alive and keep Kay’s legacy alive.
“We can’t thank him enough.

“The money will help cancer research through Dr Pud Bhaskar and the early detection of breast cancer, as well as the bereavement centre at the hospice which will pay for helping children and people who have lost loved ones.”