AN EX-footballer has a new goal of inspiring youngsters in the town he played for by taking on a gruelling 280-mile run from the North-East to London.

Steve Newham, who played youth football for both Middlesbrough Football Club and Manchester United, aims to raise up to £10,000 in sponsorship by running 40 miles a day for a week.

The money he raises will help fund a once-in-a-lifetime performance by more than 100 pupils from three primary schools within the Tees Valley Education Trust at Southbank Centre’s Royal Festival Hall in London.

Mr Newham, 37, wants to ensure disadvantaged children from Middlesbrough’s Pennyman and Brambles primary academies and Dormanstown Primary Academy, near Redcar, do not miss out on the big day due to lack of funds.

Setting off on the morning of June 4, Mr Newham will run the equivalent of nearly 12 marathons over the next seven days before being greeted by the pupils at the London Eye on the eve of their big performance.

Mr Newham, who is sports lead at Pennyman, hopes to inspire pupils from across the three schools whilst raising funds that will help 107 of them fulfil their dreams of performing at the Royal Festival Hall.

A former Northern League player with Bishop Auckland, Seaham Red Star, Stokesley and Norton, the Middlesbrough-born fitness enthusiast will be joined on the first few miles of the run by his friend, international athlete, Matty Hynes.

Mr Newham said: “I’ve always kept myself in shape but without doubt this is the biggest challenge I’ve ever undertaken.

"I’d be kidding myself if I didn’t recognise it will be a big test physically and mentally.

“Being greeted by the children in London is what will keep me going. I may just collapse in a heap and it might be emotional.

“Having grown up in the Grove Hill area of Middlesbrough, I understand the sort of challenges many of the Tees Valley Education children have.

“Some of them have never been outside of the town, so performing at such a prestigious London venue will be massive for them.

“If I can raise their aspirations by helping them perform at the Royal Festival Hall while acting as a role model that shows them what they can achieve with real dedication then I’ll be very happy.”

To sponsor Mr Newham, visit