Chimney sweep’s ice lolly

Bob Waite

Bob Waite

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FIRST it was a skydive, then it was a wacky canoe trek.

Now 60-year-old chimney sweep Bob Waite has another idea to raise cash for charity.

Cycling fundraisers (left to right) David Boyd, Gale Waite and Bob Waite.

Cycling fundraisers (left to right) David Boyd, Gale Waite and Bob Waite.

Bob and his daughter Gayle, 34, and nephew David Boyd, 23, are to cycle 60 miles along the River Wear.

The trio are taking part in the bike ride to raise £550 to pay for an ice rink at Blackhall Community Centre this Christmas.

Bob has already raked in £2,500, thanks to donations from businesses and residents in the village, whom he thanked for all their efforts.

Durham County Council representatives Alan Cox and Rob Crute have pledged money and the trio have been supported by Peterlee and District Lions and Blackhall Regeneration Partnership.

Bob, who lives in Arnold Avenue, Blackhall, and is married to Denise, said: “It’s going to be Blackhall’s Winter Wonderland on December 10 and 11.

“I’m hoping this bike ride is going to get us at least another £550 towards the cost. I have been trying for a couple of years to get some funding for a mobile ice rink in Blackhall.

“You get them in the towns and cities, like Hartlepool and Sunderland, but never in Blackhall.”

Bob, who is a member of the Peterlee and District Lions Club, and residential care worker Gayle, who is mum to Charlie Campbell, 15, together with David, will cycle the length of the Wear, starting at Allenheads in Northumberland, and ending at Wearmouth in Sunderland.

They hope to complete the course in nine to 10 hours at the end of the month.

Bob, also dad to Tracey Coverdale, 35, and grandfather to Katie, 11, and Maisy, four, said: “We have done a 28-mile bike ride from Blackhall to Thorpe Thewles in preparation.”

They will be accompanied by support driver David Williams in a truck loaned by Blackhall-based Wearside Contractors.

Previously, Bob has completed a parachute jump to raise money for Horden man Dick Graham’s Schools for Gambia charity.

He also launched the “The Darwin Experience”, inspired by Teesside insurance fraudster John Darwin, which saw him and Gayle kayak from Hartlepool to Crimdon in 2009 and from Seaham Harbour to Hartlepool’s Heugh Breakwater and back last year to raise money for Peterlee Lions and the RNLI.

Anyone wishing to sponsor the trio can call 586 5809.

@SunEchoJohnston