Blackhall grandad Bob’s got a ticket to ride all around the UK

Bob Waite is now riding around the country by bus.
Bob Waite is now riding around the country by bus.

A pensioner has packed his bags and left home to set off on his biggest charity challenge yet.

Bob Waite, 66, from Blackhall Colliery, is riding around the full perimeter of England using only his bus pass to raise money for a worthy cause.

He waved goodbye to his wife Denise on Monday morning and is continuing his journey down the east coast after notching up almost 200 miles so far.

The retired chimney sweep is doing it to raise money for the transplant unit at Newcastle’s Freeman Hospital.

He hopes to achieve a fundraising target of £10,000 and supporters can donate online.

Speaking to the Mail while on his way to King’s Lynn, in Norfolk, Bob said: “I’m hoping to get to Great Yarmouth today. People are taking an awful lot of interest in what I’m doing.”

He is using just his bus pass to travel for free the full length and breadth of England.

It means he has to hop on and off different services several times a day.

But he says he has been boosted by people’s support, both from family and friends back home and those he meets on his travels.

He added: “I was in Boston bus station this morning and three traffic wardens gave me £5 and a cafe owner went on to my Just Giving website, so it is working.

“Money is starting to be raised fairly rapidly. The kids back home have been telling me how everyone is wishing me luck on Facebook which gives me a great boost.

“When you are sitting on a bus all day long it is a long time.”

Bob, dad to Tracey Coverdale, 41, and Gayle Shingler, 40, and a grandad of three, spends about eight to nine hours a day on buses.

His wife Denise keeps in regular touch with him to organise accommodation for him wherever he ends up at the end of the day.

Bob added: “By Monday, I hope to be on the south coast. The way I look at it, once I get to Land’s End I am on my way home as I am heading north instead of south.”

In 2014, he travelled from Land’s End to Berwick-
upon-Tweed, again using only his bus pass, to help raise money for a little boy with severe epilepsy.

Two years earlier, he made his way from Folkestone, in Kent, back home using nothing but his bus pass and the generosity of stranger, raising funds for repairs to the bell at St Andrew’s Church, in Blackhall.

To sponsor Bob, go to www.justgiving.com/fundraising/bobsbusride2017.