A PAIR of teachers were given a Gallic send-off as they embarked on a fundraising trip to Paris yesterday.

Richard Harrison and Phil Latham were surprised by Alan Sharpe, dressed as an onion seller, complete with bike and beret, as they set off to compete in this weekend's Paris Marathon. The teachers, from Middlesbrough's Macmillan City Technology College, are being sponsored for the event to raise funds for the town's Multiple Sclerosis Centre.

As its coordinator, Mr Sharpe gave a send-off he hoped would inspire them in their pursuit.

To prepare for Sunday's race, they trained for three nights a week, covering five miles at a time to build up to the 26 miles of the rigorous French course.

Science master Mr Harrison, of Easington Lane, said: "It's been hard work fitting a rigid training programme around school, but we've prepared properly, so we have high expectations."

Mr Latham, head of year nine, who lives in Saltburn, said: "We've prepared well and we'll know within days whether we've done it all right."