Wondeful woddlers raise thousands of pounds for charity during Hartlepool event

WONDERFUL woddlers raised thousands of pounds for charity causes after taking part in a Sunday stroll with a difference.

The Headland was turned into a sea of colour as around 200 fundraisers got kitted out in their onesies for the very first Onesie Woddle.

Neisha Webb with Stephen Picton.

Neisha Webb with Stephen Picton.

The event, which was the brainchild of Hartlepool’s charity champion Stephen Picton, saw participants pay a fee to compete in the walk which went to Dementia UK, then any sponsor money raised was handed over to their charity of their choice.

There were penguins, lions and tigers, superheroes and cartoon characters taking part in the hike from the Heugh Gun Battery to the Victoria Arms, while others were quite happy to show off their nightwear in the name of charity.

Organiser Stephen was overwhelmed by the turnout, and was given a Father’s Day treat when he reached the end of the walk to discover his dad James had travelled up from Wales overnight for a surprise visit.

An emnotional Stephen said: “It’s not often I’m speechless, but to see my dad there was wonderful. I had no idea, I’d actually rang him to say Happy Father’s Day but he didn’t answer.

“Now I know why!

“As far as the walk goes, it was absolutely fabulous and I can’t thank everyone enough for taking part in it. To see such a big turnout was overwhelming, and it was a huge success.

“All the sponsor money is still coming in, but I think we have raised around £18,000 for good causes.”

Margurite Gant was the oldest person taking part at a sprightly 84 years of age.

Margurite, of Anchor Court on the Headland, said: “I was happy to take part and I raised money for Dementia UK because my husband Ralph suffered from it before he died nine years ago.

“It is an awful condition, we were married for 54 years and sometimes he didn’t recognise me. I’ve raised about £300, and if that helps the charity then I’m happy.”

Robbie Lynn, 52, did the walk with his daughter Courtney, a 12-year-old Dyke House pupil. He raised cash for Dementia UK, Cancer Research and Hartlepool Families First, while Courtney’s sponsor money went to Red Dreams.

The ex-taxi driver was roped into doing the event on roller skates, and said: “I was happy to take part because it’s all for good causes.

“I’m not so sure about the skates though, I’ll have a few bumps and bruises as I tumbled a few times but it’s all worth it.”

Seven-year-old Neisha Webb, who was born with part of her leg missing, donned her prosthetic limb to compete to raise cash for little Poppy Wilkinson, who has a similar condition.

Speaking after the walk alongside her proud parents Liz and Dave, St Bega’s pupil Neisha said: “I’m a bit tired and sweaty, but it was worth it. I really enjoyed it and it was fun to see everyone in their onesies.”

Lynne Hamilton was another competitor to wear roller skates as she raised cash for the Teenage Cancer Trust and ward 34 at Newcastle’s Freeman Hospital where her son Stephen has been receiving treatment.

Lynne said: “I hope to raise a few hundred pounds once all the sponsor money comes in. I know the amount of work the Teenage Cancer Trust does, and I’ve seen through Stephen’s treatment what the staff do at the Freeman so I will do anything I can to help.”

Competitors and their familes gathered for a funday at the Victoria Arms afterwards, with a Radio Hartlepool roadshow and plenty of fun and games for the youngsters.

Stephen added: “I’d like to thank each and every person who took part, and also to everyone who has helped in the organising of it all.

“It was an unbelievable day from start to finish, and I’m already planning next year’s!”