ENERGETIC staff and students at Middlesbrough College went the distance for a little girl in desperate need of a heart transplant.

Twenty volunteers aimed to run or walk a total of 86 miles - the round trip between the College and the Freeman Hospital in Newcastle – in aid of the Children’s Heart Unit Fund.

But so committed were they to raising as much as possible, they completed more than 200 miles and have raised more than £1,400 for the unit, where Evie Grace Clasper has spent a lot of her short life.

The three-year-old from Ingleby Barwick has endured a number of life-saving operations since being born with a heart defect.

Her parents have now been told their girl needs a heart transplant.

Evie’s aunt Helen Spencer is an administrator in the department of health and care at the college.

“The support we’ve received has been amazing,” she said. “People want to help in any way they can, and we’ve already exceeded all our expectations by the number of people volunteering to take part and the donations that have flooded in.”

Most of the miles were clocked up on treadmills inside the College, but two volunteers decided to walk the journey to the Freeman Hospital and back.

Dan Yates, 52, and Matt Hopton, 39, both health and care lecturers, set out last Saturday morning (April 5) to make the journey from Middlesbrough to Newcastle.

They walked along the coast to Seaham and the River Wear before heading inland to Newcastle. They made the return journey the following day.

Anyone wanting to boost the fund can do so at www.justgiving.com/chuf