Fund-raising Sunderland brothers off on their travels for Children In Need

Karl and Chris King had a pre-dawn start from South Hylton Metro Station for their fourth annual public transport challenge for Children in Need.  This time they are attempting to visit the top seven football stadiums in the northeast and Cumbria.
Karl and Chris King had a pre-dawn start from South Hylton Metro Station for their fourth annual public transport challenge for Children in Need. This time they are attempting to visit the top seven football stadiums in the northeast and Cumbria.
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WEARSIDE’S madcap fund-raisers are back – this time travelling 515 miles around the region and visiting its seven top football stadiums.

Brothers Chris and Karl King have become a regular feature of the Children in Need appeal with their transport treks, covering hundreds of miles using only public transport and raising £3,000 for the appeal.

Previous self-styled “Pudsey Challenges” included travelling to London and back, visiting England’s 10 major cities and a disastrous attempt last year to break the record for visiting all 270 London Underground stations in a day.

Now – after being chosen as fund-raising heroes for the appeal – they are travelling the length and breadth of the BBC’s North East and Cumbria broadcasting region in three days, stopping off at the area’s seven main football stadiums – starting yesterday at the Stadium of Light.

Chris, 36, from Pennywell, said: “We weren’t originally going to do anything this year as we had a couple of family bereavements over the summer, but we got a call from the presenter, Jeff Donnelly, saying Children in Need for looking for local heroes from each region who had previously done outstanding things and raised a lot of money for the appeal.

“He said ‘the first people I thought of were you’ and invited us to this year’s event at Beamish to be the heroes of the North East.

“I said to my brother ‘it’s not very nice being the heroes and not doing anything for this year’s appeal’, so this is what we came up with.”

The brothers set off from South Hylton Metro station at 6.04am yesterday before heading to the Stadium of Light.

Today they visited Newcastle before travelling through Consett, Durham, Bishop Auckland, Barnard Castle, Darlington and Middlesbrough to spend the night in Scarborough – taking in Middlesbrough FC’s Riverside Stadium and the now-defunct Scarborough FC’s McCain Stadium.

Tomorrow, they will return to Sunderland via Whitby, Guisborough, Stokesley, North Ormesby, Hartlepool – taking in Hartlepool United’s Victoria Park – Peterlee, Gateshead and Washington.

Network One Travel Tickets have supplied the brothers with free transport passes, and other sponsors include Premier Inn, AMR Property Maintenance, Tony Clark Funeral Services and Value Doors UK.

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CHRIS and Karl are hoping for a smoother ride than their accident-prone journey last year.

Chris, who lives with wife Tracy and has five children – Nicholas, 16, Brett, 12, Brandan, 13, Kieran, 11, and Maddisan, five, was left badly bruised after a trip while running for a Tube, and delayed trains and wrong directions also caused them a headache – the knock-on affect making them fall massively behind on their challenge.

They visited 220 of the 270 stations, and hope one day to make a second attempt at breaking the record.

Chris and Karl where then hit by a second disaster when they headed to Cockermouth to appear on last year’s Children in Need broadcast.

Traffic problems meant they missed the BBC bus leaving from Newcastle, so had to make their own way there by train and bus.

But the pair missed the last connection from Maryport to Cockermouth and had to walk six miles along dark country roads before getting a lift from a passing driver for the last mile.