INTREPID North-East dad Stephen Sinclair has climbed England’s highest mountain with a tumble dryer strapped to his back – as part of his training for the Great North Run.

Stephen, 35, is aiming to raise vital funds for the North East Autism Society by tackling the world’s most famous half-marathon while burdened with the 40kg tumble dryer.

And his gruelling training schedule reached its peak this week when he lumped the heavy machine up the 978-metre Scafell Pike, in the Lake District.

“It wasn’t easy, but I made it to the top, and now I’m definitely ready for the Great North Run, in support of a fantastic charity,” said Stephen, who lives in Ashington.

Stephen is a keen adventurer who has already conquered some of the world’s toughest peaks, including Machu Picchu and Kilimanjaro, as well as reaching the base camp of Mount Everest, and summiting the famous Island Peak, in March.

NEAS is a charity close to his heart because he has a four-year-old autistic son, Frankie, who he describes as his inspiration.

“Frankie’s named after my Grandad, who passed away in 2016. We were very close, and he was my hero,” explained Stephen.

I have a tattoo paying tribute to my Grandad on my leg, and I give it a little tap whenever I’m doing a tough challenge. It reminds me of what a special man he was, and I want to do him and little Frankie proud.

Stephen, who works in the oil and gas industry, completed the Great North Run barefoot last year, raising £1,500 for NEAS. He also raised another £500 at a boxing event.

This year, he wanted to do something different and got the idea for his latest fundraising effort when he spotted an old tumble dryer in his shed.

“We were about to throw it out, but it kept staring at me, so I decided to make good use of it.”

Stephen cut the straps off an old hiking bag, attached them to the tumble dryer, and went into training.

As well as climbing Scafell Pike with the tumble dryer, he has also just run 100 miles in 10 days without it. However, he’ll now get back to running with the tumble dryer in the build-up to the Great North Run on September 10.

His original target was £2,000 but that was increased to £3,000 when the fundraising platform, Give Star, donated £500. Whatever he raises will be split between NEAS and Frankie’s school – Castle School, in Ashington.

Stephen intends to cross the Great North Run finishing line with his little boy in his arms.

Our Chief Executive John Phillipson said: “We are in awe of Stephen, and we can’t thank him enough for the incredible lengths he goes to in supporting what we do.”

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