STAFF and prisoners at a local jail are raising cash for the NHS by challenging themselves to walk the distance from the prison to New York, USA.

HM Prison Kirklevington Grange in Yarm have been walking, jogging and running laps of the prison field to raise money for NHS charities, to thank key workers and medical staff.

Inspired by Captain Tom Moore, who recently raised £30million for the NHS by walking over 100 laps of his garden, the prison team is hoping to rack up 6,704 miles - the distance from the prison to New York and back.

Almost £300 has been donated so far, with prisoners giving up their wages to contribute.

All this has been achieved while maintaining strict social distancing throughout the challenge.

As well as raising funds for the NHS, the challenge is helping to boost morale among staff and offenders and improving the mental and physical health of those involved.

Rebecca Newby, Governor at HMP Kirklevington, said: “We are glad to do our bit to help tackle coronavirus and show our appreciation to the NHS staff working non-stop to keep us safe.

“The men here came up with the tag line for the challenge of ‘going the distance to make a difference’.

"That is exactly what they are trying to do.

"They should all be commended for the way they have coped during this time.

"Like all of us, they have accepted that they are part of a national effort to tackle the virus, and have supported the prison to deliver the best it can for them in the circumstances.”

Stevie Watts, a staff member organising the event, said: “Exercise is an important factor in maintaining health and wellbeing and we wanted to incorporate this into supporting our community and, in particular, our colleagues in the NHS.”

Across the country prisons are working to do their bit for the national effort to tackle coronavirus.

Other jails are running similar initiatives to help the NHS and their community.

At HMP Stocken, in Rutland, prisoners are donating their canteen money to local care homes, while at HMP Ranby, in Nottinghamshire, staff are raising money for materials to make scrubs for their local hospital.

Elsewhere, a number of prisons are manufacturing thousands of pieces of equipment, from scrubs to goggles for health workers.