A FORMER chimney sweep has set off on a mammoth 550-mile charity journey where he is aiming to get home relying only on his bus pass.
Bob Waite, 63, was today embarking on what he hopes will be a six-day trip from Land’s End, in Cornwall, to Berwick, in Northumberland, with nothing but his pensioner’s pass.
He is being sponsored on the journey, between England’s most southern and northerly points, to raise money for 11-month-old Oliver Osborn, who suffers from aggressive epilepsy.
Bob was taken down to Land’s End yesterday by Craig Booth, who runs a courier service.
Before setting off, without a hint of anxiety, he said: “I feel champion.
“I know how I’m going to get from one end to the other – on the bus. “I’m quite psyched up about it, and the wife is over the moon that she’s got shot of me for a week.”
Bob, from Blackhall, is wearing his Hartlepool United jacket on the trip and expects to get at least 30 buses to his destination.
He has planned a rough route, which includes Truro, Bodmin and Exeter, a stretch he hopes to complete by the end of today.
Tomorrow buses are only operating on a Sunday service and he hopes to get to Bath.
Then on Monday Bob expects to reach Stratford, before heading to Nottingham on Tuesday via Coventry and Leicester.
Bob plans to head to Sheffield, then Doncaster, York, Thirsk, Middlesbrough and then Newcastle before Alnwick and then finally Berwick.
Bob, who is married to Denise and dad to Gayle Waite and Tracey Coverdale, said: “I’m going to take it all on the chin.
“Without a doubt it’s going to be an adventure, and it’s for a brilliant cause, for a lovely little baby.”
Apart from a similar, but shorter charity trip, from Folkestone, in Kent, to Blackhall, in 2012, to raise money for the bell at St Andrew’s Church in Blackhall, the furthest south Bob has travelled is Scarborough.
During the 2012 trip, Bob pushed himself by relying on the generosity of others and he had to sleep in a railway station, a Tesco’s and even a bus shelter.
But this time he is paying for bed and breakfasts along the way.
The Mail reported earlier this month that baby Oliver’s parents Danielle Coils, 28, and Rick Osborn, 29, from Wadham Close, Peterlee, are desperately trying to find medication to slow down the rate of their son’s epilepsy, which sees him suffer up to 100 seizures a day.
There is still time to sponsor Bob, by calling (0191) 5879904.