A charity champion is set to take on one of his biggest challenges yet this weekend – with a little helping hand from South Shields FC.
Carl Mowatt, manager of the club’s catering supplier, the Lakeside Inn, aims to run 50 miles in under 10 hours on Sunday in aid of the charity Guide Dogs.
This is his fourth such mission for the charity as he seeks to fund his fourth guide dog, which will be named by Mariners fans after the club became the main sponsor of the event.
The ‘Mowza Does The States’ fundraiser will see Carl reach four North East locations which share a name with a place in the States: New York (near Whitley Bay), Palmersville (North Tyneside), Washington and Philadelphia.
It will start and end at Gypsies Green in South Shields, with Carl to be waved off by a team of supporters including Sandy, South Shields FC’s club mascot, and the Mayor of South Tyneside, Councillor Pat Hay.
Carl began supporting Guide Dogs after his friend Andy Briggs, who was blind, passed away.
His first 100-mile challenge funded a guide dog named Andy, and having seen the impact made by the 18-month-old pooch, his motivation to continue to help is strong.
Carl said: “This is a cause which is very close to my heart and although it’s not going to be easy, it’s within my capabilities.
“I’m going to put myself through a bit of pain for a day, but this will change someone’s life for the better in a dramatic way so it’s going to be so worth it.
“The support of South Shields FC has taken my breath away and it’s generosity like that which makes all this possible.
“I’m hugely grateful for every donation which has been made so far.”
Each guide dog costs £5,000 and through three challenges so far, Carl has raised just under £18,000.
He will set off at 7am on Sunday and will be joined at various points of the route by other runners.
Anyone is welcome to participate in parts of the run, with Carl requesting they make a donation of at least £10. They will receive a T-shirt marking the event in return.
The dogs funded so far by Carl’s efforts are called Andy, Mowza and Molly, with South Shields fans set to get the chance to name dog number four.
South Shields FC chairman Geoff Thompson said: “The club is delighted to be the main sponsor of this fantastic fundraising challenge and happy to fully support Carl.
“What Carl has already achieved is incredible, and we wish him every success with this event.
“We’re delighted to be part of it and to have the chance to name the guide dog if and when Carl is successful.
“We’ll then reach out to our fans and run a competition to name the dog, so we encourage our supporters to get behind Carl however they can.”
To make a donation or find out more about the event, visit https://www.justgiving.com/fundraising/mowza100miles.