South Shields panto star set to take on Great North Run charity challenge - oh yes he is!

David John Hopper in costume with Ray Spencer as Dame Bella and Arbuthnot, are preparing to take part in the Great North Run.
David John Hopper in costume with Ray Spencer as Dame Bella and Arbuthnot, are preparing to take part in the Great North Run.

A South Shields panto star is in training to take on his toughest role yet.

David John Hopper is gearing up to take part in the Great North Run to raise funds for the Customs House Trust.

David John Hopper (right) with Lee Tiffin, owner of Black Sheep Fitness Academy.

David John Hopper (right) with Lee Tiffin, owner of Black Sheep Fitness Academy.

As the arts venue celebrates its 25th year, 25 members of staff and supporters are taking on the world’s greatest half-marathon to raise money for the charity behind it.

David has played Arbuthnot – the son of Ray Spencer’s Dame Bella – in the annual panto at The Customs House since 2016.

The 25-year-old, who lives in South Shields, said: “I’m really enjoying training so far.

“I’ve lost a bit of weight but I’m striving to lose some more.

Among the other runners taking part are Customs House Executive Director, Ray Spencer, Board of Trustees members Darren Hymers and Claire Simmons and actors Annie Guy and Stephen Lee Hamilton.

He is being supported in his efforts by Lee Tiffin, owner of Black Sheep Fitness Academy, who is not only training him, but will be running alongside him from Newcastle to South Shields on Sunday, September 8.

Lee said: “I am thrilled to have been asked to help David with his training to complete his challenge of completing the Great North Run.

“The Great North Run is an event that is a huge personal goal for many people and we are going to guide and support David to reach his and make sure he completes it to the best of his ability, not only in the gym but at the actual event.”

If you are interested in running for The Customs House Trust, contact Kelly Anders on 427 8199 or email kelly@customshouse.co.uk.

Arbuthnot is back on The Customs House stage at Easter in Arbuthnot and Pals’ Super Happy Silly Mega Fun Game Show, at noon and 3pm on Wednesday, April 10, and Thursday, April 11.