An 11-year-old boy cut off his ponytail and climbed Roseberry Topping for the Great North Air Ambulance Service (GNAAS) in a tribute to his late step-granddad.
Josh Heslop, from Ingleby Barwick, wanted to raise money for the charity in memory of Adam Mclauchlan of Stockton, who was a great supporter of the vital service.
Mr Mclauchlan, a former truck driver, passed away from lung cancer in January 2011 and his grandson Josh decided to do two things to raise money in his memory – cut off his four-year-old ponytail and climb the landmark hill.
Josh said: “My granddad used to tease me about my ponytail and he joked that he’d chop it off, which made me grow it more. I was a little nervous about going to the hairdressers and I’m still getting used to it but I’m glad I did it.”
He got his hair cut at Imeson’s Barbers in Thornaby, who gave the chop for free, as well as sponsoring towards the cause.
Josh then climbed Roseberry Topping along with his 11-year-old girlfriend, Charlotte Laidler.
“When I saw the hill I thought it looked massive and when I got back down I looked up and thought I can’t believe I’ve climbed that,” he said.
Josh also got a local pub, the Golden Eagle in Thornaby to hold a name the teddy bear competition which raised a further £40 for his cause.
Mum, Zoe Heslop, said: “Josh has done this all himself – from deciding to raise money, to his fundraising ideas and gaining sponsorship. I am so proud of him. He was very close to Adam and at the top of Roseberry Topping he said ‘I’ve done this for you granddad’. He now spends a lot of time with his grandma, Glynis, chatting about him.”
Josh said: “I will tell my one-year-old sister, Mia Ellie, all about granddad when she’s older.”
He completed both challenges in March and already has some new fundraisers in mind to support GNAAS in the future.
Mandy Drake, head of fundraising at GNAAS, said: “Josh has made a lovely tribute to his granddad and it’s clear that all of his family are proud of his charitable efforts. The money he has raised will go towards keeping our aircraft in the sky and Josh should feel proud that he has helped towards saving lives in the region.”