AN intrepid motorcyclist has set off on a journey around the country to raise money for the Unicef tsunami appeal.

Jonathan Formstone, from Norton, near Stockton, left on his 3,000-mile marathon bike trip from Redcar, east Cleveland, yesterday.

His journey will take him north and then along the entire coastal route of the UK and finishing in Darlington on Saturday, March 12.

Mr Formstone, 29, a branch manager in a finance company in Billingham, started riding bikes a couple of years ago and said he was inspired to do the trip after actors Ewan McGregor and Charley Boorman travelled around the world on their motorbikes.

He said: "I am looking forward to the trip. I was a bit apprehensive when it was snowing, but now most of that has cleared I am excited."

He has been encouraged after getting a personal message from Charley Boorman, which said: "It is great to hear that our adventure has inspired Jon Formstone to undertake this journey to raise funds for Unicef.

"I have seen the vital work Unicef do in the field and know that they will be in tsunami affected countries for years to come, rebuilding the shattered lives of these vulnerable children. So thank you Jon and safe travels."

He is looking for donations from people across the North-East and North Yorkshire.

He said: "We should all be aware that the children of the disaster are the ones who suffer most. It is their innocence and lack of understanding and their grief for the loss of families, mums, dads, brothers, sisters and extended families that has inspired me to embark upon this journey."

Visit the website or call Mr Formstone on 07899 906 216.