Stepping out in aid of bereaved families

Steve Laws and teams climb North Marine steps to the equivalent to Everest base camp.
Steve Laws and teams climb North Marine steps to the equivalent to Everest base camp.
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A South Tyneside grandfather pushed his stamina and endurance to the limit by climbing stairs within a seafront park a staggering 337 times.

Steve Laws has completed the Three Peaks Challenge and the Coast to Coast bike ride in one day in the past for charity.

But the Royal Mail postman wanted to push his endurance to the limit to raise cash for the Cruse Crew, a group which provides drop-in sessions for bereaved families to meet and chat to one another.

He decided he wanted to climb the equivalent to the Mount Everest Base camp from sea level and set about working out how many times he would need to climb the stairs within North Marine Park to reach his goal.

He set off on his mission at 6am on Saturday, June 11, finishing 18 hours later, climbing the stairs 337 times - a total of 68,748 steps - with only five minute breaks when he needed to rest.

Steve, from West Avenue, South Shields, was joined on his mission by family and friends who were competing in their own challenge as part of a relay to complete the equivalent of the three peak challenge.

I had no idea how it was going to go as it’s not something you can really train for.

Steve Laws

Alfie Leggett his partner Susan Clarkson and their two boys James and Thomas Leggett also took part in the event which was driven by Mr Laws admiration for the family following the death of their son Jack, nine, following a brain tumour.

The family have been supported by the Cruse Crew, which was launched in 2014 to raise £30,000 to enable Cruse Bereavement Care Tyneside to bring its one-to-one bereavement support to South Tyneside for children.

Steve, who is in his 50s, said: “The main thing for me over all was the fatigue. Doing it non-stop for 18 hours was draining.

“I really enjoyed it though and it was an excellent experience. I had no idea how it was going to go as it’s not something you can really train for.

“I’ve done the three peaks before and the Coast to Coast there and back in one day, I wanted a new challenge.

“Having people coming down to see me and wish me luck helped to keep me going.

“I know Alfie through work and what he and his family have been through losing Jack, it was the reason which drove me to keep going.

“I would like to say a big thank you to South Tyneside Council, also, for their support in helping to make this happen.

Mr Leggett from Primrose Avenue, South Shields said: “As a family we can’t thank Steve enough for what he has done. He’s a good lad and it really means a lot to us.

“The Cruse Crew is something that has helped to keep me going since Jack died, without it I don’t know where I’d be now. I’m just glad we are able to help other families going through what we have been through, because that’s what it’s all about being there for one another.”

The Cruse Crew now provides activities and social events for bereaved families and adults. The group - run by volunteers - holds drop-in sessions on Tuesdays for children from 6pm until 7.30pm and adults on Thursdays from 6pm until 7pm at Chuter Ede Community Centre, in Galsworthy Road, South Shields. The sessions give people the chance to talk to one another about their loved one or just chat.

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