A RETIRED local government officer is preparing to to climb the height of Mount Everest with a series of walks in the hills and mountains of the Lake District.

Gordon Hull, of Bearpark, near Durham, is taking part in Trail magazine’s Everest Anywhere challenge in aid of Children North East and aims to clock up climbs totalling 29,029ft over six days in May and June.

The great-grandfather will be 76 when he embarks on the challenge on May 14, and 77 when he does his last walk on June 6, with his birthday falling half-way through on May 24.

Mr Hull was inspired to take part in the challenge after reading press reports about the alarmingly high suicide rate among young people and learned about Children North East from his daughter.

He said: “I’ve chosen to attempt the challenge for Children North East so the charity can continue to support vulnerable children and young people and their families who are too easily forgotten about.

"Children North East exists because growing up can be hard and offers support at times when a little help can make a big difference.

“Everyone involved with the charity works incredibly hard to help those who need it the most and I feel good about joining the effort and raising money in this way.”

Mr Hull has planned his programme using pre-recorded walks and climbs from Walking the Wainwrights by Stuart Marshall and Complete the Lakeland Fells by Bill Birkett.

His first walk on May 14 will be the Coledale Horseshoe, taking in Grisedale Pike (259ft), Crag Hill, (2,751ft) Sail (2,356 ft), Outerside, (1,863 ft) and Barrow (1,494 ft). It is a total climb of 3,750ft and a distance of around nine miles. His second batch of walks in June will include England’s highest mountain, Scafell Pike, at 3,209 ft.

Mr Hull will be walking solo during his first week, but friends from Perth in Scotland and Llandrindod in Wales will join him for the second.

His lifelong love of the great outdoors began as a teenager when teachers at his secondary school in Shield Row, County Durham, introduced him to cycling.

Two years ago, he walked a total of 1,000 miles over seven weeks, raising £1,500 towards a minibus for Bearpark Primary School.

He said: “I go out walking every day so I am reasonably fit.

“I think being outdoors is a great mood lifter and hopefully this project might rub off on young people.”