Did you spot Mr Gorilla in Hartlepool? Find out what he was doing here

Tom as Mr Gorilla
Tom as Mr Gorilla

Fundraiser Tom Harrison may have looked like he was monkeying around when he rode through Hartlepool wearing a gorilla mask.

But there was a serious reason for the man known as Mr Gorilla.

Tom Harrison making his way through Hartlepool on his way to Peterlee. Picture by FRANK REID

Tom Harrison making his way through Hartlepool on his way to Peterlee. Picture by FRANK REID

He made headlines around the world last year when he crawled the route of the London Marathon on his hands and knees wearing his trademark gorilla mask.

Tom, 41, from London, is raising money to help protect gorillas from poachers by riding almost 600 miles from Land’s End to John O’Groats on a hand cycle.

He described the machine powered by turning the pedals with his hands as “an implement of torture”.

He rode through Hartlepool on his way north yesterday after spending the night in Seaton Carew.

During a breather in town he said: “This is day 13 and I have been on this the whole way.

“I am fundraising for the Gorilla Organisation which sponsor projects in Uganda and the Congo.

“Unfortunately, the Congo is very unstable with illegal mining and logging in the forest.

“Just this week five rangers that check on gorillas were killed in an attack.”

Referring to the famous monkey hanging legend he tweeted a picture of himself arriving in Hartlepool and said: “Glad the people of Hartlepool are much kinder to us simians these days!”

Tom was lashed with rain as he rode into Hartlepool on Tuesday.

He added: “It was raining on the A19 and there was spray everywhere. I have had a couple of flat tyres but have got by thanks to the kindness of strangers.

“I thought to myself if the rangers can put their lives on the line every day to go and check on the gorillas what’s a little bit of discomfort for me?”

Tom has broken his £1,000 fundraising target and is now up to £1,600.

Donate at www.justgiving.com/fundraising/gorilla-go