IT wasn’t the best start to his latest charity challenge.

When David Dowthwaite’s bike tyre blew just a few miles from his Clayton home at the beginning of his 105 mile cycle ride he didn’t envisage it would be the first of a few calamities.

Having sorted one problem, David was back on his way cycling to Sunderland on September 10. Twenty miles into the journey disaster struck again when his bike slipped on the wet surface causing him to hit the tarmac heavily.

“It’s one of those things. You grit your teeth and if it doesn’t kill you, it makes you stronger,” says David.

Following a 20 minute break to assess the damage, mainly to his right hip and elbow, David took to the saddle to complete the journey and do what he had set out to do - the Great North Run the following day.

He’d completed the same challenge, cycling to Sunderland the day before and participating in the famous 13.1 mile run the following day the previous year so he had been confident he would conquer it for the second time.

This time though he had a lot more riding on it. A pal at his local, the Black Bull in Clayton which has supported David on his various fundraising challenges, pledged to double his sponsorship if he completed it. David wasn’t going to let anybody down, not least Cancer Support Yorkshire - the small independent local charity he was inspired to support after taking up fundraising in 2011.

For David, the charity based in Bradford and Skipton which provides practical help and support to those affected by cancer, ticked all the boxes. It was small, independent and, from a personal point of view, he had lost his father, Harold, to cancer in 1991.

His father’s death and his pledge to quit smoking in 2011 kick-started David’s fundraising while giving him a focus away from the habit he was eager to break. At one time he was smoking up to 70 cigarettes a day but as well as helping him to keep fit, fundraising was helping him to boost funds for Cancer Support Yorkshire.

Giving up and heading home wasn’t an option for David, who has already shown great determination quitting smoking.

“I did go down hard and the initial thought was that it was game over,” recalls the 54-year-old.

“But I can be a bit stubborn,” he says, referring to his decision to carry on despite the pain.

“I wasn’t going to let the charity down.”

David’s arrival in Sunderland made him even more determined to participate in the run. “On the Sunday morning there was quite a bit of discomfort.”

He decided to run to the first mile marker then walk and every 100 yards he picked it up again. Normally conscious of his timings and eager to improve on his last run, this year David simply wanted to cross the finish line.

“The first thought was there is a lot riding on it, I’m not going to stop, I’m getting my head down and I would grind it out. I had forgotten about beating any times. I just wanted to get to the end of it,” says David.

One of the highlights was the welcoming party of regulars, his friends at the Black Bull, who were waiting for him on his return to the pub.

With their support and sponsorship, David is planning his next fundraiser for Cancer Support Yorkshire - the Leeds Triathlon next year. He also hopes to participate in the Liverpool marathon. He also hopes to participate in the Liverpool marathon - but he's taking his training gently at the moment.

"When I got back I tried to carry on running for three or four weeks but I was getting slower, says David.

Considering his determination to conquer the challenges he says are keeping him from lighting up, he will be back in action before long.

Since starting fundraising in 2011 David’s goal has been to undertake one fundraiser every year for Cancer Support Yorkshire.This year's efforts netted £2,460 taking the total he has raised so far to well over £7,000.

Linda Enderby, fundraiser at Cancer Support Yorkshire, says: “Cancer Support Yorkshire relies on the generosity of the general public and supporters like David. We help thousands of patients and their families, every year, with the practical, financial and emotional issues that come with a cancer diagnosis. All services are free but this is only possible because of the kind donations we receive.”

For more information call Cancer Support Yorkshire on 01274 776688.