Hartlepool extreme adventurer puts Australia challenge on hold after devastating bushfires

An extreme adventurer from Hartlepool has put his next challenge in Australia on hold after the country’s devastating bush fires.

Wednesday, 29th January 2020, 6:00 am
Updated Wednesday, 29th January 2020, 9:27 am

Fundraiser Paul Suggitt, 51, announced in November that he would cross the length of the country from Darwin to Adelaide – some 1,900 miles – in spring 2021 in three weeks by bike and on foot while barefoot.

But he has made the difficult decision to postpone the challenge for a year after fires swept Australia leaving more than 30 people dead, a billion animals killed, and thousands of homes destroyed.

Paul, who last summer completed a hellish coast to coast walk across England in his bare feet for charity, said he had deliberated for weeks before coming to the decision to park the challenge.

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Paul Suggitt.
Paul Suggitt.

But he said he will be announcing another challenge

In a video posted on his Ultra Adventurer Facebook page, Paul, of Deer Park, said: “After some careful thought and consideration for what’s going on out there at the moment with the fires, people losing their livelihoods, losing their lives, losing their businesses I don’t feel it’s appropriate for me to be shouting ‘hey folks I’m just getting ready to go out there to do this’.

“I think it’s the wrong time to be doing this and in order for my challenges to be successful for the charities that I do these things for I need to start doing that in advance.

“So right now I have taken the decision to park the Australian adventure for maybe a year or so, however, I will be shortly announcing a new adventure challenge that will take its place.”

A burnt-out residence is seen in Sarsfield, East Gippsland, Victoria, Australia. Picture: James Ross/AAP Images via AP.

Paul, who has raised tens of thousands of pounds for charity from a number of extreme challenges in recent years, had already started planning for Australia before the fires happened at the end of last year.

In 2017 he completed 10,000 miles on his bike, walking and running throughout the year for the Chris Lucas Trust, a North East based cancer charity.

He also raises money for Hartlepool Ambulance Charity which trains volunteers in first aid to support the ambulance service and which Paul is an ambassador for.