Former Blackhall chimney sweep’s latest bus pass challenge is biggest yet

Bob Waite getting ready for the off in his last challenge
Bob Waite getting ready for the off in his last challenge

A grandad hopes to raise £10,000 in his latest charity challenge - travelling around England by bus.

Retired chimney sweep Bob Waite, 66, from Blackhall, aims to ride around the whole perimeter of the country on nothing more than his bus pass.

Bob Waite at Land's End

Bob Waite at Land's End

He has set himself a fundraising target of £10,000 for the transplant unit at Newcastle’s Freeman Hospital.

Bob reckons the challenge – his biggest yet – will take him up to a month to complete.

He said: “I can’t ride a bike any more and am not very good at walking but I thought I can sit on a bus all day every day for a month.”

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 strangers.

It was all to help fix the bell at St Andrew’s Church, in Blackhall.

Bob, decided to mount his biggest challenge yet after seeing a fundraiser on the news who had recently had a kidney transplant complete a coast to coast event.

He said: “I have though about this for a couple of years. That is the biggest challenge for myself to go right round England.

“I’m hoping to raise £10,000 for the Freeman hospital transplant unit in Newcastle.”

Bob will get on the bus from almost outside his front door in Blackhall on Monday, February 27, and expects his journey around the country to take between three and four weeks.

His wife Denise will keep in constant contact with him to arrange for accommodation depending on where he ends up every day.

Bob, dad to Tracey Coverdale, 41, and Gayle Shingler, 40, and grandad of Charlie, Katie and Masie, added: “I have never been away from my family for such a long time in my married life and don’t know how I’m going to react to it.

“My last one took six days but this will be three to four weeks.”

But despite the size of his task, Bob is looking forward to it.

“It’s pretty exciting,” he said.

Sponsor forms are available in the local community.

And Denise has also set up an account on the Just Giving website so people can donate online.

It can be found at www.justgiving.com/fundraising/bobsbusride2017