A North East man is preparing to walk almost 300 miles from Essex to his North East hometown to raise thousands of pounds for a mental health charity.

Dane North, a serving army officer and on-call firefighter, currently lives in Carver Barracks in Essex but is planning the huge walk to his hometown of Brotton, North Yorkshire, to raise money for mental health charity Mind.

Dane, 32, will be living and sleeping rough and setting off with just a backpack and canteen of water, hoping to show that by speaking up and asking for help, people are more than happy lend a helping hand.

The army officer said: “I always try to do something for charity every year and this year I was struggling with what it was I wanted to do but it just hit me to go big or go home and that literally is what I’m planning to do.

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“In both of my jobs suicide and mental health rates are quite high and it’s a big issue so I decided to do something for a mental health charity and walk home for Mind.”

Dane has previously raised money for an Essex-based charity which helps his son who has Downs Syndrome and during lockdown fundraised by running dressed as a dinosaur in the airfield at his barracks.

The Northern Echo: Dane and his son. Picture: DANE NORTHDane and his son. Picture: DANE NORTH

He is planning on setting off on July 1 and the 300 mile journey is expected to take 10 days.

Mr North added: “I’m setting off on July 1 with just my rucksack and canteen with water. I’m going to be reaching out to people and businesses along the way to try and get food and water and a home for the night to show that by speaking out you can get help.”

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"I have 15 years military experience and have been an on-call fire fighter for four years so I am used to tough conditions and I hope that will help me along the way.

“The weather forecast is looking hot and nice at the moment but I think I would prefer it a bit more overcast to be honest.”

Dane has already raised over £1,300 (as of June 30) but hopes to ‘double or triple’ the total over the next 10 days.

He will be posting regular updates on his Facebook page ‘Dane’s Walking Home for Mental Health’ and livestreaming part of the journey.

Anyone wishing to donate can visit his JustGiving page here.


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