"It's not about me; it's about raising awareness and money for this amazing charity right on our doorstep" – the words of tireless fundraiser John Robinson from our Teesport distribution centre who's raised thousands of pounds for Zoe's Place baby hospice.
John's been sponsored by friends, colleagues and relatives every year for the last 14 years as he's taken part in events like the Great North Run – and when last year's race had to be cancelled because of the pandemic he refused to be beaten and instead rode 120 miles from Redcar to Holy Island so Zoe's Place didn't miss out on much-needed sponsorship money.
John, who's 65 in May, says he first started raising money for the hospice soon after it opened because it's so close to where he lives in Middlesbrough.
He said: "I've been doing the Great North Run since 1987 and when they opened 14 years ago I thought it would be nice to support a local charity and they seemed the perfect choice because of the work they do and how much that service costs to maintain and because they're only a mile from my house."
John estimates that he's raised around £8,000 for the hospice over the years. He was given a British Citizen award and nominated for the Proud To Be Asda awards for his fundraising work, but in typically modest fashion insisted on donating his prize money to Zoe's Place. His colleagues also bought him a Halfords voucher.
He said: "I don't do it for recognition – it really isn't about me, and I hope the hospice gets all the attention, because they really deserve it."
John, who's married to Denise, says he really enjoys running and cycling and has no plans to ease up. With this year's events still to be confirmed he's currently planning a coast-to-coast fundraising bike ride.
He said: "I've been very lucky with my health and I really enjoy running and cycling. My daughter Rebecca ran the Great North Run with me the year before last but she said once was enough, so I do it on my own. As long as I'm fit enough I'll keep doing it."
Mark Benson, the general manager at our Teesport centre, says everyone is so proud of John's tireless fundraising work.
He said: "John does amazing work every year raising money for Zoe's Place and the guys at Teesport always support him.
"You never hear him talking himself up – he just does it quietly under the radar without making any fuss. We're all really proud of him."