Hartlepool fundraiser pounding the streets in his bare feet for charity

A Hartlepool fundraiser is preparing to put his best foot forward - minus socks and shoes.

Paul Suggitt is planning to pound the pavements of Hartlepool in preparation for his barefooted feat next year.

Brest foot forward, Paul Suggitt walking barefoot around the town in training for a barefoot challenge he is doing next year, pictured with Councillor Stephen Akers-Belcher, on Saturday.

Brest foot forward, Paul Suggitt walking barefoot around the town in training for a barefoot challenge he is doing next year, pictured with Councillor Stephen Akers-Belcher, on Saturday.

The 49-year-old is planning to carry out a 13-day walking challenge in Britain, which will take him through three national parks, to raise money for two charities.

But, to make it a bit more of a challenge, Paul plans to do the whole thing in barefeet.

Last year Paul, who hails from Hartlepool, racked up 10,000 miles running, cycling and walking all over the country in less than 12 months in aid of the Chris Lucas Trust.

Earlier this year, along with a group of fellow walkers, Paul completed the 40-mile Lyke Wake Walk across the North Yorkshire Moors in under 20 hours.

I want to highlight the huge clean-up that has gone on in this town

Paul Suggitt

After deciding on his latest challenge, Paul knows he will have to put in some hard work beforehand to prepare his feet for the trek.

He said: “I like to set myself new challenges and this is just something I came up with.

“I need to get as much practice in as I can before the weather gets really cold, because I don’t want to get frostbite.”

Paul said he also wants to show how clean the streets of Hartlepool now are and that he is happy to walk around them without his socks and shoes on.

Paul Suggitt (left) walking barefoot around the town in training for a barefoot challenge he is doing next year, accompanied on Saturday by Ian Bushnell

Paul Suggitt (left) walking barefoot around the town in training for a barefoot challenge he is doing next year, accompanied on Saturday by Ian Bushnell

He said: “I want to highlight the huge clean-up that has gone on in this town.

“I first started walking in the town in 2016 and I have seen huge improvements since then.”

Coun Stephen Akers-Belcher, chairman of Hartlepool Borough Council’s Neighbourhood Services Committee, went along to give Paul some support as he started out on one of his five-hour barefooted walks around the town.

Coun Akers-Belcher, said there was a bit of a legacy that the town wasn’t as clean as it could, but a further eight people have been employed to tackle the problem.

He said: “We are getting into a position where the town is cleaner, it will take time.

“These comments from Paul are really welcomed.”

Coun Akers-Belcher said it is a morale boost for everyone involved in cleaning up the streets and said he is full of admiration for the fund-raising work that Paul is doing.

Paul will be raising money for The Chris Lucas Trust and Hartlepool Ambulance Charity.