A TEACHER’S challenge brought to a successful end a marathon fundraising effort to send students on a life-changing trip to Africa.

Darlington School of Mathematics and Science deputy head teacher Neil Johnson was joined by finance director Andy Collishaw in a gruelling triathlon which raised more than £1,000.

They left the Branksome estate academy completing a 13 mile circular walk in three hours, before tackling a 30 mile bike ride, topped up by a three mile row in the gym.

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“I was shattered but the pledges are still coming in so it was well worth it,” he said before leaving on the school’s first ever visit to the African continent.

His efforts brought to more than £36,000 the amount raised for the trip of a lifetime for 21 students.

Three staff, including Mr Johnson, are accompanying the specially selected students on the 12-day trip to the impoverished community of Nakuru, three hours north west of Nairobi.

The party, which left on Saturday (June 28), is working to improve conditions in the local community.

Headteacher Calvin Kipling said: “Reaching such a mammoth target is a genuine achievement for the whole school which got behind the fundraising with such gusto.

“The trip will not only shape the views and lives of the lucky ones chosen to go but will impact on all of our students when the party returns and reports back on their expedition.”