CHARITY champion David Sinclair says that training for his latest fundraising challenge saved his life.
The 62-year-old, from Hebburn, is missing his latest planned adventure after being rushed to hospital last month after his heart began to race.
Mr Sinclair, a branch manager at Jarrow flooring company, Durastic, was suffering from ventricular arrhythmia, a life-threatening condition associated with heart attacks.
He said: “I was supposed to be heading off to Vietnam and Cambodia for a 450km charity bike ride tomorrow so I’ve been training really hard.
“The doctor told me that if I hadn’t been as fit as I am, I might not have survived. So training for this event has actually saved my life.”
Mr Sinclair and his friend, David Ridley, were set to take on the cycling challenge in aid of The Openwork Foundation Cares 4 Kids appeal, which supports voluntary organisations across the UK which help socially, mentally or physically disadvantaged children.
Between them, the friends had already raised thousands of pounds for the cause from two previous two-wheeled challenges, which saw them pedal through the sweltering heat of the Jordanian desert and India.
Mr Sinclair took ill on October 12, when he woke up to find his heart racing.
His wife, Joyce, rang an ambulance, and within 20 minutes he was being wheeled into the accident and emergency department of South Tyneside District Hospital.
Tests were carried out and he was in the hospital for 15 days, before being transferred to Newcastle’s Freeman Hospital for a further two days.
He said: “I really can’t praise the doctors and nurses at the hospital enough, and the paramedics for getting to me so quickly. My heart rate was up to around 300 beats per minute, instead of the usual 80, but they put me on a beta-blocker drip and it sorted me out.
“They’re not sure what caused it.
“I’d had injections that were needed ahead of the trip two days before, so maybe it was that. I feel fantastic now though, and I’m really grateful to everyone at both hospitals.”
He added: “Of course, I’m gutted that I can’t go on the cycle, but I’m lucky that I had this health scare now and rather than when I was in the middle of Vietnam.
“I’m not allowed to cycle for a month, but once I can, I’ll be getting ready for next year’s challenge.
“The charity are going to transfer my money over to next year’s challenge, so the £3,500 I’ve already raised will still be going to it.
!I just want to wish everyone who is still doing the ride the best of luck, and thank them for all their get well soon messages.”
Mr Ridley, 48, from South Shields, says his pal will be a big miss.
The financial advisor said: “David is the kind of person that really spurs you on to keep going.
“We’ve done a lot of training this year and we were really looking forward to it, so it’s a real shame that he can’t make it, but thankfully he’s feeling much better.
“I think this challenge is going to be really hard.
“We’re doing 68km on the first day, and 90km the day after.
“It’s going to be tough – but it’ll be an amazing experience.”
To sponsor Mr Ridley, e-mail him at email@example.com