WHEN you become a dad, they say you’ve got to be prepared to do anything for your kids.

In Lindz Mason’s case, that means walking across the country dressed as an elf and sleeping in a wheelie bin.

You may recall that Lindz first featured in this column in 2017 when he spent every day in December dressed as an elf to help fund treatment for his disabled little boy.

He went to work as an elf, did the shopping as an elf, filled up at the petrol station as an elf, called in at the pub as an elf, and even took his family to the pictures as an elf.

It was a classic case of charity begins at gnome as Lindz, of Middleton St George, near Darlington, embarked on a mission to raise £40,000 to fund an operation to help his son, Emil, who has cerebral palsy.

With the operation not available on the NHS, Lindz and wife Helen had launched the “Emil Go” campaign to change the life of their little boy, who has been in pain and struggled to walk throughout his short life.

Living as an elf for a month went a long way towards helping the family meet their target but five-year-old Emil’s needs are ongoing, including regular physiotherapy.

And so, this Thursday morning, Lindz will set off from Redcar’s vertical pier to complete the Coast To Coast Walk to Morecambe, finishing at the Eric Morecambe statue.

Throughout the 100 miles, he will be dressed as an “extreme sports elf” – complete with pointy ears and green Eddie The Eagle-style suit – pulling a “cosmic” wheelie bin that will be his bed for two nights.

“We’ve reached our initial goals, but the goal-posts keep moving, so the walk was organised to remind people that the campaign is still going, and Emil will need help for the rest of his life,” said Lindz. “The wheelie bin converts into a mini caravan and is actually quite cosy.”

The proceeds from the walk will be split between Emil and another disabled little boy in Middleton St George, Joseph Teasdale.

“With the walk being spread over three days, we thought it would have the scope to keep people’s attention, so we wanted to help Joseph at the same time,” said Lindz, who works as a graphic designer.

He is being sponsored on the walk by friend James Calvert, who runs an events company called Tipichic, which organizes XmasFest, a four-night festive event, held in giant teepees, on land behind the Old Farmhouse pub, near Middleton St George, in December.

Lindz first donned his wacky costume when he was helping James with XmasFest a few years back, and the devoted dad’s double-life as an elf evolved from there.

“Oh, he loves getting dressed up,” says his wife Helen, a teacher. “He spends ages perfecting his costume, so I just let him get on with it and stay in the background.”

The last word goes to Emil who sums it all up by looking up to the sky, spreading his arms wide, and saying: “My Daddy’s absolutely bonkers!”

He’s right, of course. But in the elfiest way possible.

  • To support Lindz on his walk, go to www.justgiving.com/crowdfunding/wheeliebin