A MORPETH motorcyclist is once again going off the beaten track overseas for a charity ride.
Three years ago, Paul Howey did the Trans-America Trail, which involved travelling mainly off-road from Tennessee on the east side of the USA to the west coast in the state of Oregon over five weeks.
And now he is planning a trip to South Africa later this year to help raise money for school, community and health projects.
The 42-year-old has already received funding support after £317.35 was collected by pupils at Newminster Middle School & Technology College through a non-uniform day.
He will be heading out in October to join about 100 others who have signed up for the Enduro Africa challenge.
Teams of eight to 10 riders will travel about 1,500 miles, mainly off-road, from Port Elizabeth on the south coast to Durban in the east.
The route includes Lesotho, a country completely surrounded by South Africa.
Mr Howey said: “Doing the Trans-America Trail was a brilliant experience and I was delighted to raise about £1,000 for The Prostate Cancer Charity.
“I have always wanted to ride in Africa but was a bit apprehensive about doing it solo the first time, so when I found out about Enduro Africa it was an excellent opportunity to find out what it is like as part of a group and support four great causes at the same time.
“Ever since I got back from the US I have been planning to do something similar so I’m hugely looking forward to the ride.
“I will experience some amazing places and sights and the route takes us about 100 miles away from the scene of the notorious Battle of Rorke’s Drift so if I get the chance I will go there to see it.”
The four charities that will receive money raised by the participants are UNICEF, Sentebale – The Princes’ Fund for Lesotho, the Nelson Mandela Children’s Fund and Touch Africa.
Between them they build new schools and community facilities in South Africa and Lesotho, support children living in poverty and provide pregnant mothers with medication to reduce the risk of giving HIV Aids to their children to one-in-50 from one-in-two without the medication.
After writing to the school, the Stobhill resident spoke to Newminster pupils about the trip and the good causes.
“I’m very grateful to the school for raising so much money, I was taken aback by the generosity of their support,” he said.
Acting Head of School at Newminster Jane Kennedy said: “Paul gave a very interesting talk and our pupils decided that a non-uniform day would be the best way to support what he is doing.
“We wish him all the best with his adventure.”
Mr Howey, who works for Northumberland Fire and Rescue Service as a trainer in the Learning and Development department, has organised a fund-raising event at Riverside Lodge, High Stanners, on Friday, June 3 from 7pm.
Top UK Abba tribute act Abba Forever will be performing and there will also be a charity auction.
Tickets, which cost £20 and include supper, are available from the venue or contact Mr Howey on 077544 75658.