A SERVING soldier has taken on a unique form of the Coast to Coast in aid of a children's hospital whose staff treated his son.

Ben Westcott of Catterick, North Yorkshire, set off to complete his version of the challenge, with three of his former military colleagues in aid of the Birmingham Children's Hospital.

His son, Josh, received life-saving treatment for Sagittal craniosynostosis, a condition when skull plates fuse before birth.

On Saturday, June 22, Mr Westcott took on the challenge along with his former colleagues.

He said: "As a serving soldier, it is difficult to find time to give something back to the society which you serve.

"It wasn't just a Coast to Coast crossing, it was a mountain-bike crossing which traversed the Cumbrian Mountains north of Skiddaw and the North Pennines off road."

At around 5am, they set off from Workington, Cumbria with the objective to reach Seaham, County Durham, in less than a day, using a chunk of off-road routes.

He said: "For me, it was personal – whilst I was based in the Midlands, Josh, underwent life-changing surgery there and thanks to the awesome medical team who treated him, he now enjoys a normal life."

Mr Westcott, who is married to Harriet Westcott and has three children including Josh, said he had doubts over whether he would be able to complete the mission.

He said: "Before it, I thought 'I'm not sure if I can do this', and then did a fairly demanding training session at work and thought I can do this."

Using a mix of road, trail and mountain path, the group used their mountain bikes to travel across gruelling paths, climbing a total of 12,904 feet over the course of the day.

He said: "We ended up being so lucky, because the weather was so nice ­— it was dry.

"Around a month and a half ago, I had ridden in some fairly awful weather."

During the day, the team of four travelled across the Pennines, reaching the Lake District at one point.

Mr Westcott said: "When we got to Ullswater, we rowed across it in rowing boats – we picked up our bikes at the other end."

The team then pushed on across the moors towards the North-East, before they rode along disused railway tracks in Weardale, County Durham, and finishing the challenge in Seaham at 2am.

His wife, Mrs Westcott said: "Nobody has appeared to have done it off road. I am just incredibly proud of him, he's completed it on top of such a demanding job.

"We have three children and he's fit the training around the family – we're all proud of his achievements."

At time of publication, around £1,700 had been raised by more than 35 people online on a Justgiving page.

Mr Westcott added: "The fundraiser is still open and anybody who wants to donate can – we are all very grateful."