Central Leeds: Big-hearted duo ready to take on funding challenge

UP FOR IT: Stephen Browitt, 30, left, and Jim Coupland, 31.
UP FOR IT: Stephen Browitt, 30, left, and Jim Coupland, 31.
Have your say

A pair of fitness mad workers at Leeds General Infirmary are set to take part in a gruelling endurance challenge to raise cash for a cause that’s close to their hearts.

Cardiac physiologists Jim Coupland, 31, and Stephen Browitt, 30, will put themselves through a series of tough physical tasks next summer to help the Children’s Heart Surgery Fund and charity Take Heart.

The unit faces closure under an NHS plan to rationalise provision of the complex operations across the country.

The plans have pushed Jim and Steve to arrange a 128-mile bike ride, a 128-mile kayak over three days, and a 128-mile run over three days along the Leeds Liverpool Canal next June.

Jim said: “This is something that’s obviously really close to our hearts. Along with many, many others we don’t want to see the unit close.

“It means so much to the people of Leeds and Yorkshire and we want to see it stay in Leeds.

“We organised this event in the hope that people will see the scale of the challenge and realise how much two ordinary Yorkshire men are willing to endure to keep publicity and funding alive for the Children’s Heart Surgery Fund, and also to raise awareness of Take Heart’s existence.”

During the endurance challenge, which is set to take place next June, more than 384 miles will be covered in just seven days – working out at an average of 55 miles per day.

The running leg will be made up of three back to back “ultra marathons”.

Over the next eight months, both Jim and Steve will fit their training around their jobs to make sure they are up to next year’s task.

Jim told the YEP: “We’ve always done a lot of challenges like this but we wanted to do something special that would really push ourselves and take the next step, sort of a once-in-a-lifetime thing.”

Take Heart helps to raise money for the Yorkshire Heart Centre, which is based at Leeds General Infirmary.

Jim has set up a donation website so people can sponsor the pair and help raise cash for the two causes.

To donate or find out more about the challenge, visit: uk.virginmoneygiving.com/team/theeventLGI


Just £150 more per person will help narrow the North/South divide, says Leeds council leader