AN 87-year-old man who took part in a fundraising wheelchair push has been rewarded with a personalised pie for his efforts.
Great-grandfather Joseph Beck, from Sacriston, raised more than £1,300 for the Great North Air Ambulance Service (GNAAS) by completing a seven-mile stretch in his wheelchair from Durham Masonic Hall to Chester-le-Street Masonic Hall. He was joined by fifteen Freemasons.
Mr Beck and his son, Ken Beck, came up with the idea for the walk and the group took turns to push the pensioner who was joined by fellow wheelchair user, Peter Taylor, 51, of Washington.
Ken Beck said: “Since Dad cannot attend the Freemasons anymore, he still wanted to raise money for charity and so we decided on this challenge.”
The fundraisers stopped to enjoy a pie from Taylors Butchers at Framwellgate Moor on route and staff there were so impressed with their feat that they subsequently handed Mr Beck a pie bearing his name to congratulate his efforts on January 21.
John Green, manager at Taylors said: “We were so touched by their fundraiser and they said the pies were the highlight of their day, that we wanted to show our appreciation for their hard work.”
One of the walkers, Mark Gilpin, 59, from Morpeth and formally of Chester-le-Street, was airlifted by GNAAS after a head-on car crash near Ottercops in 1992.
Mr Gilpin said: “It took me two and a half hours to be cut out of the wreckage and I lost six and a half pints of blood at the scene. I had 14 hours of surgery and spent four weeks in intensive care. I wasn’t expected to live. I wouldn’t be here without those that fought hard to save me including GNAAS.”
The incident gave Mr Gilpin a new outlook on life: “Don’t live for tomorrow, live for today,” he added.
Ken Beck said: “We had a great time at the walk and everyone was generous and supportive of our efforts.
“My dad loved his pie. We’re very grateful.
“Mark’s family didn’t think he would pull through but his full recovery is a grand example of the work that GNAAS does.
“I used to be a climber so I know of other people who have been airlifted off the hillside by the charity, reiterating what a wonderful service it is.”