A FORMER chimney sweep is more than half-way through a mammoth 550-mile charity journey relying only on his bus pass to get home.
Bob Waite, 63, embarked on a trip at the weekend from Land’s End, in Cornwall, to Berwick, in Northumberland.
So far he has encountered two broken down buses and a kind bunch of supporters in Tiverton, in Devon, who pledged £25 to his cause.
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.
Yesterday Bob’s trip took in Tewkesbury, in Gloucestershire, Evesham, in Worcestershire, Stratford-upon-Avon and then Nottingham.
Blackhall man Bob said: “Everything is going to plan and if it keeps this way I might be half-a-day ahead of schedule.”
Bob was dropped off at Land’s End on Friday by courier Craig Booth. Then on Saturday he began making his way back up the country. But just two hours into his journey, his bus broke down.
Bob said: “I was only in Taunton and I had to wait 50 minutes for another bus.”
By the end of Saturday he reached Exeter, as planned.
But on Sunday, with buses only operating on a Sunday service timetable, he only covered 20 miles and ended up in Tiverton.
Bob, who is married to Denise, said: “I met a brilliant bunch of people in a pub who sponsored me £25.”
On Monday Bob was in Wells, Somerset, when the second bus broke down, but was only held up for a quarter of an hour. Then he headed to Bristol before making his way to Gloucestershire.
By the end of the week plans to continue on to Sheffield, then Doncaster, York, Thirsk, Middlesbrough and Newcastle before Alnwick and Berwick.
“I’m looking forward to the rest of the journey,” said the dad-of-two.
In a similar, but shorter charity trip, from Folkestone, in Kent, to Blackhall, in 2012, Bob raised £1,200 for the bell at St Andrew’s Church, in Blackhall.
During that trip, Bob relied on the generosity of others and 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.
Oliver’s parents Danielle Coils, 28, and Rick Osborn, 29, of 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.
To sponsor Bob, call (0191) 5879904.