A SON pedalled his way across the country in tribute to his dad who died suddenly of an undiagnosed heart defect.
Joiner Dave Johnson was putting his skills to use as a favour for a friend at their Hetton home when he collapsed and died in 2001.
It was found the 60-year-old, from Seaham, had suffered from cardiac arrhythmias, a disturbance of the heart rhythm, but had never shown any symptoms of the problem.
His death left Dave’s son Paul, 36, and wife Robertina, 62, and his colleagues at JF Eilbeck chemist, where he worked as a delivery driver, devastated.
He was well-known across Seaham, particularly in the Deneside area, where he would help customers by collecting other essentials and running errands.
Now Paul, a warehouse manager at International Plastic Systems, on Seaham Grange Industrial Estate, has raised more than £1,300 after cycling the Coast2Coast route from Workington back to Seaham.
The 128-mile route took two days to complete, with the cash he raised, which included £250 from his father’s bosses and sponsorship from supporters, to be donated to SADS UK – Sudden Arrhythmic Death Syndrome, a charity which funds equipment such as monitors and defibrillators, backs research and highlights cardiac risks.
Paul, who joined workmates on the challenge as they backed charities of their choice, said: “I think dad would be proud about what I’ve done and he would be happy to know people are thinking of him.
“Hopefully this money will help save someone’s life.”
Anne Jolly, founder of the charity, said: “SADS UK is very grateful to Paul for taking on such a fantastic cycling challenge to raise awareness and funds for SADS UK.
“Research into Sudden Arrhythmic Death is absolutely vital to help people in the future and prevent such untimely deaths.”
For more information about the trust’s work, you can visit www.sadsuk.org.