AN athlete who has been selected to represent Great Britain is appealing for help to get him to the world championships.

Ben Oakes has only been competing in triathlons for three years, but his efforts last year were good enough to earn him national selection for the Long Course Triathlon World Championships in France, in October.

However, because of the lack of funding in the sport, the 25-year-old needs to raise about £135 to enter the event, £400 travel and accommodation costs and about £150 for his GB kit.

"I don't expect to get all of that, but anything I can get will be greatly appreciated," said Ben, of Southend Avenue, Darlington.

The former Barnard Castle School pupil will have to swim 4km, cycle 121km and run 29km. "That will be the longest I've ever done," he said.

"I've done a half-Iron Man before, but that was slightly shorter. I hope to move up to full Iron Man next year, which is longer than the long course."

Anybody who can help Ben, a barman at Number Twenty-2 in Coniscliffe Road, get to the event, which takes place in Nice, can contact him on 07968 378343.