A CHILDMINDER from the North-East is running a marathon in Africa to help homeless youngsters.

Helen O’Rourke, from Consett, County Durham, is taking part in the Sierra Leone Marathon, after her son, Mark Maughan, talked her into to it.

The 22-year-old has been working in the once war torn nation for the last year after visiting to do charity work in aid of the Craig Bellamy Foundation.

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He is now helping organise a series of runs near Makeni in aid of the Street Child charity.

Mr Maughan said: “I am terrible. My job is to get people to do this run but I haven’t done it myself, although I probably will do the route before the race itself.

“The beauty of this event is that you run with the people you are going to be helping and you get all of the kids coming out supporting you as you run.

“It is not dangerous like it used to be and I think it is one of the safest place I have been. The people are so warm and friendly.”

Ms O’Rourke, 47, who is training four times a week ahead of the marathon in May, said: “I am a bit scared to be honest but also very excited to go out to see where Mark has been working.

“It looks like an absolutely amazing place and it is for a good cause. It gets the kids off the streets and back to school and with their families.”

Ms O’Rourke has organised a charity children’s disco at Chaplain’s bar in Consett from 5pm-8pm on April 3.

There will be a raffle and she is looking for businesses to sponsor her and donate prizes.

To support her log call 0773-077-113and for more information about the run log on to www.kilnsierraleonemarathon.com/