Amazing Hartlepool fundraiser facing operation after mammoth 827-mile charity run

A man who ran the length of the UK for a Hartlepool charity has revealed how he is facing a battle for health.

Lee Dodgson, 32, was due to go under the surgeon’s knife this week to repair damage to his knees.

Runner Lee Dodgson.

Runner Lee Dodgson.

And he admitted he knew there was something wrong even when he was running an amazing 827-miles for Alice House Hospice last year.

Lee toiled from Land’s End, in Cornwall, to John O’Groats in Scotland in a battle against physical and mental pain in June 2017.

His incredible efforts won him both the Fundraiser of the Year and the Sporting Excellence trophies at last year’s Best of Hartlepool Awards.

But he now admits he knew from day two of his mega 15-day challenge that something wasn’t quite right with his legs. Despite it all, he still kept fighting against the odds.

Lee Dodgson who won the Fundraiser of the Year category at the 2017 Best of Hartlepool Awards. He received his trophy from Joy Yates, the Mail's Editorial Director.

Lee Dodgson who won the Fundraiser of the Year category at the 2017 Best of Hartlepool Awards. He received his trophy from Joy Yates, the Mail's Editorial Director.

Lee explained: “I was born with patellar problems and they degrade over time with running.

“I knew something was amiss because of the pain I was in, but I strapped it up.”

Read more: Final push for brave runner Lee Dodgson

He described the 827-run as ‘borderline agony to agony but it was just a case of getting up and getting on with it.”

Lee Dodgson.

Lee Dodgson.

He has already had knee surgery and his right side if fixed but needed more work on his left knee this week.

But one real highlight for Lee was the Best of Hartlepool Awards night where he was declared a double winner last November.

“It was brilliant,” he admitted. “But I was shocked and a bit overwhelmed. I thought the evening was really nice and it was nice to be recognised. It was also nice for the hospice to get the recognition.”

Lee urged people to nominate their heroes for this year’s awards and added: “There are a lot of people in this town and a lot of people who do good things.

“I find that awards like this inspire people into deciding to do more for local charities and it is definitely worth supporting.”

This is your chance to give those very special unsung heroes the praise they so richly deserve.

We have loads of categories enter your nomination in. Take a look at the list below and choose the right one for your community favourite.

In fact, don’t limit yourself to putting forward one hero. Feel free to put as many nominations in as you like as we are sure there are loads of worthy causes out there.

Here are the categories to choose from;

• Young Performer of the Year (Under 21);

Lee Dodgson.

Lee Dodgson.

• Green Champion;

• Student of the Year;

• Fundraiser of the Year;

• Volunteer of the year;

• Sporting Excellence;

• Community Group;

• Community Champion;

• Child of Courage;

• Child of Achievement;

• Emergency services award;

• Carer of the Year;

• Neighbour of the Year;

• Sports team of the year;

• Role model of the Year;

• Lifetime Achievement award.

Related content: Amazing runner Lee Dodgson in funal push to get to John O’Groats

Stagecoach, the Northern School of Art, Hart Biologicals, Joel D. Kerr Funeral Services, Utility Alliance Ltd, Tilly Baily and Irvine, the Hartlepool and Stockton-on-Tees Clinical Commissioning Group, and English Martyrs School and Sixth Form College are the backers in this year’s competition and we thank them all.

We want you to nominate people by post to Lynn Wild, Sunderland Echo, Alexander House, Rainton Bridge Business Park, Houghton-le-Spring, Sunderland. DH4 5RA.

Alternatively, you can email:, or nominate at

The deadline for entries is Friday, October 26. Soon after that, the judges will meet to draw up a shortlist of the best entries.

And then comes the grand finale which will be held at Hardwick Hall on Thursday, November 22,

In the meantime, make sure you have those nominations to us by the deadline date.

Let’s make this an awards which is really hard for the judging panel to sift through - because the standard of entries is so high.

And there’s only one way to do that. So come on, get nominating!