‘I’m so proud of him’ - Fitness fanatic completes Isleham to John O’Groats trek to help the NHS

Kevin Porter ran and cycled towards his 1,000km target in his bid to provide coffee machines and pod

Kevin Porter ran and cycled towards his 1,000km target in his bid to provide coffee machines and pods for NHS workers. Picture: MARIANNE PORTER - Credit: Archant

A fitness fanatic from Isleham has covered 1,000 ‘virtual’ kilometres and raised over £3,000 in his bid to help the NHS during the coronavirus lockdown.

Kevin Porter, 50, completed the trek from his village home to John O’Groats through hours of running and cycling to provide coffee machines and thousands of coffee pods for staff working throughout the pandemic.

Kevin, market leader at Barclays Premier East Anglia, only thought about helping Addenbrooke’s Hospital in Cambridge around four weeks ago after they approached his firm for assistance, but this quickly escalated.

Marianne Porter, Kevin’s wife, said: “I think somebody mentioned the idea at work because they had been approached by hospitals needing these coffee machines. He asked ‘can you help?’ and Kevin said ‘I will do that’.

“He ordered their (Addenbrooke’s) machines first and from there, he ordered for hospitals in his catchment area, including Luton and Dunstable and Norwich.

“The staff actually did not have these facilities. If you want a cup of coffee, you have to go to the shop and buy it.

“They are working such long shifts and we did not realise that until this idea was mentioned at work, and he said ‘that is ridiculous. They are exhausted, they should not go and buy coffee so let’s help them.’”

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Passing through the likes of Ely and Prickwillow on his trek, Kevin’s fundraising total grew to heights he never imagined and has already inspired other colleagues to take on challenges of their own.

Barclays have said they will donate an extra £1,000 to the NHS on top of Kevin’s efforts, who has also received support from son Harry, daughter Rose and stepdaughter Robyn along the way, and has helped hospitals from Nottingham to Newport in Wales.

Marianne said: “I would say he has been doing six to seven days of running and cycling, and one day of rest. He swims twice a week, runs twice a week and did play local football once a week.

“He always cycled, but it was not a huge part of his exercise routine until the lockdown happened. There were days when he found it difficult, but he carried on to get these coffee machines.

“He thought he would raise a couple hundred pounds, but he did not anticipate the support he got or the amount of hospitals he helped and was astounded by how quickly it snowballed.

“I’m so proud of him.”