Sep 17

Billingham man thinking big with 1,140 mile charity trek!

WHEN it comes to raising money for good causes one Teesside man knows exactly how to go the distance.

For Paul Burgum is about to rack up his third charity walk. This time trekking from the glamorous streets of Monte Carlo all the way home to Billingham.

The 1,140-mile journey will see social enterprise manager Paul, 33, sleep under a tarpaulin in a sleeping bag, hopefully persuade a ferry company to ship him across the channel and, if he’s lucky, borrow a bike for the final stretch.

He will have no support crew, no cash and only a video recorder to chart his progress.

“I’m not cheating,” said Paul, who lives in Billingham with partner of three years Jody Lyons, “I walked it from Portsmouth a couple of years ago, then from Orkney back to Billingham last year.

“It’s therapeutic actually.”

Paul is referring to his own battle managing his bi-polar disorder.

 

He added: “About three-and-a-half years ago I had what you could call an episode, and it was then I had to go to the doctors and manage it, before this I used to have accidents, but I always visited Dr. Racanelli and treat any wound I got.

“Since then I’m a bit of a campaigner for mental health issues.

“When I walk, part of it will be that while it’s massive for me, it’s equal to someone who is housebound, because of depression or mental health problems, just walking to the shop and back.

“Plus for me, walking is massive therapy. A poor man’s Priory. it’s steady and repetitive – just the opposite of the manic episodes in bi-polar.”

This year Paul will be raising money for the Sick Children’s Trust.

He said: “My friend’s daughter has a very rare condition and it means the family are back and forth to hospitals out of the area.

“The SCT runs houses near to hospitals so families can stay there and keep something like normality going on.”

And Paul, who runs BCT Aspire, a social enterprise based in Billingham which aims to challenge mindsets and see young people dream bigger, hopes his trek will help inspire young people from Teesside.

“If someone sees what I’m doing, as crazy as it seems, and just thinks, ‘if he can do it so can I’, then it’s a job well done. Life isn’t about staying small it’s about thinking bigger.”

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