Sunderland lads’ Christmas Day charity walk raises cash for children’s ward at city hospital

From left John Kelly, Dave Potter and Kris Haikeney during their charity walk in aid of Sunderland Royal Hospital.
From left John Kelly, Dave Potter and Kris Haikeney during their charity walk in aid of Sunderland Royal Hospital.

Three Sunderland lads who decided to forgo Christmas Day with loved ones to take part in a gruelling charity walk to raise cash for the city’s Royal Hospital have brought in more than £1,500.

Pals Dave Potter, John Kelly and Kris Haikeney took the unusual step of journeying 32-miles on the big day in aid of the hospital’s children’s ward.

Dave Potter, left, and John Kelly who went out in Sunderland on Boxing Day wearing women's clothing after completing their 32-mile charity walk on Christmas Day.

Dave Potter, left, and John Kelly who went out in Sunderland on Boxing Day wearing women's clothing after completing their 32-mile charity walk on Christmas Day.

The lads set off from the hospital, off Chester Road, before walking to South Shields and then on to Washington and Penshaw before returning to the hospital.

Despite having a target of £200 for the fundraiser, they smashed through that to raise over £1,500.
The group posted live video and pictures en route to keep well-wishers up to date with their progress.

The fund-raising was further boosted on Boxing Day, with the lads keeping a promise to hit the pubs wearing women’s dresses while carrying a collection bucket.

Dave, 41, from Hendon, said: “We managed to do it in about 11 hours, but I was in bed for nearly three days afterwards, I was that knackered.

From left John Kelly, Dave Potter and Kris Haikeney during their charity walk in aid of Sunderland Royal Hospital.

From left John Kelly, Dave Potter and Kris Haikeney during their charity walk in aid of Sunderland Royal Hospital.

“The final total we raised was £1,555.44 so it was definitely worth it.

“John has a bad leg and it’s still bandaged up now.

“We went out on Boxing Day and as we had beaten our target we had to wear dresses in the pubs so it was a bit of a laugh.

“When we were doing the walk we even had people pulling over their cars saying they had seen us in the Echo and giving us support.

Sunderland Royal Hospital

Sunderland Royal Hospital

“They said they were really proud of us for what we had done, as have my kids, and that means a lot.”

The three mates are now planning to do a 100-mile walk in April, this time in aid of the Northern Centre for Cancer Care and Renal Services Centre at the Freeman Hospital in Newcastle, Sunderland Veterans in Crisis and drug and alcohol service Wear Recovery.

“We want to thank Sinatras Bar for their massive support before during and after the walk and Falcon Computers, Fitness 2000, AGM Computers and also the people of Sunderland,” added Dave.