MOST people approach retirement with the thought of putting their feet up – but Alan Mackinnon is marking his with a marathon trek to raise money for a hospice care charity.

In June, less than a month after retiring from his job as a financial compliance manager, the 69-year-old will undertake a solitary sponsored walk along the eastern coastline of Italy.

He is aiming to raise funds for Herriot Hospice Homecare. The walk will begin at Santa Maria di Leuca, on the heel of Italy, and take him 800 miles to Venice, where his wife Helen will be waiting. Mr Mackinnon’s only companion on his walk will be Alf, a stuffed toy dog named in honour of James Herriot himself, Alf Wight.

Mr Mackinnon, who lives in Thirsk, said: “I have always dreamed of doing something like this when I retired, and I see it as closing the door on one part of my life and opening the door on another. It’s going to be difficult, but I have always kept myself fit and have been walking and going to the gym.”

To sponsor him visit