Royal Navy training officer from South Shields who battled back from heart attack to run Great North Run in support of inspirational sister

A Royal Navy training officer who battled back from a heart attack is taking on the Great North Run in support of his sister.

CPO Hetherington with some of his recruits at HMS Raleigh
CPO Hetherington with some of his recruits at HMS Raleigh

Chief Petty Officer (CPO) Sean ‘H’ Hetherington, from South Shields, will run the 13.1-mile challenge to raise funds for the Down’s Syndrome Association after being inspired by sister Sarah, who was born with the condition.

This will be his first experience as a competitor in the race.

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The self-confessed lover of cakes and biscuits suffered a heart attack five years ago, and on his road to recovery made the decision to live a healthier life, which included more physical activity.

Sean said: “I was inspired by my sister’s ability to achieve, so decided to challenge myself to completing the Great North Run 2021- something way out of my comfort zone.

"Sarah’s disability has not stopped her from doing anything she has wanted to do; karate, swimming, badminton, getting a job, competing in the Special Olympics, crocheting blankets for dogs and nightclubbing to name but a few.

"To do all of this, has obviously been a challenge for Sarah; processing skills of the average person with Down’s Syndrome are slow, and nevertheless, Sarah perseveres to achieve her dreams.”

Sean joined the Royal Navy in 1995 and is working as an assistant divisional training officer at HMS Raleigh in Cornwall, responsible for taking Royal Navy recruits through their 10-week initial naval training course.

The 47-year-old said: “The Great North Run is a massive challenge for me.

"I want to raise money for an organisation that helps people overcome challenges every day. If anyone would like to sponsor me, all donations will be hugely appreciated.”

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The Down’s Syndrome is a national organisation committed to improving the quality of life of people who have Down’s syndrome, promoting their right to be included on a full and equal basis with others.

Donations can be made on Sean’s Virgin Money giving page at:

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