A MAN has walked 500 miles, and is planning to walk 500 more to raise money for a new minibus.

Bearpark parish councillor Gordon Hull has taken on the mammoth challenge to raise money towards a new minibus for the village primary school.

The 74-year-old, who has so far raised more than £1,500 in sponsorship, started in March and is due to pass the first 500-mile mark today.

He said: “We were trying to do something for the school and the question of transport came up.

“It can cost up to £250 to buy transport for a day to take children out.

“We decided a school minibus would drastically reduce overheads.

“Then the Proclaimers came on and that was ringing in my head so I said I will walk 500 miles and then I will walk 500 more raising money for the school minibus.”

He has worked out he has so far done the equivalent of walking from Bearpark to Surrey and back up to Cheltenham, but all on County Durham’s railway paths.

He is doing roughly 15 miles a day is hoping to cover the next 500 miles in another four to five weeks.

Mr Hull, a former marathon runner and member of the British Mountaineering Council , also hopes his challenge will lead to an after-school walking club.

John Stubbins, headteacher of Bearpark Primary School, said: “A school minibus would dramatically improve the choices for the children of Bearpark who we believe deserve the very best that our beautiful region has to offer.

“From amazing woodland areas, parks and the stunning North-East coast, Durham and the neighbouring counties represent some of the finest countryside and amenities in the country and indeed in the world.

“A school minibus would open up so many possibilities that currently are beyond our means.”

Anyone who would like to sponsor Mr Hull can do so by contacting Bearpark Primary School.