On-call Firefighter Dane North's Charity Challenge
On-call Firefighter Dane North will walk 300 miles (480km) in 10 days to raise money for mental health charity Mind.
Dane will trek from Carver Barracks in Wimbish, where he is a Lance Corporal in 29 Engineer Regiment, to Brotton, near Redcar in North Yorkshire, where he grew up.
The dad-of-five, who left home at the age of 17 when he joined the army, will only carry basic necessities to show that you can get the support you need by asking for help.
He said: "I'll be averaging 30 miles a day with only food and water I can get off the generosity of people I meet on the way.
"I'll be sleeping rough and only carrying a sleeping bag, shelter, camping stove, first aid kit, spare socks, map and a GPS with a solar power pack."
Dane, who has been an on-call firefighter at Newport Fire Station for four years, admits this will be the toughest challenge he has ever faced from a mental health point of view.
He said: "I've completed two tours of Afghanistan but this will be, by far, the hardest challenge yet.
"I’ve seen first-hand how mental health has an impact on people’s lives and I have struggled with mental health too. Now I want to make a difference and help as many people by walking home and telling my story along the way.
"At the end I’ll talk to my family and friends and share my story, which I’ve never done before – they don’t know half of my struggles."
Dane tries to do a challenge every year and raised money for Upwards with Downs in Harlow, a Down Syndrome charity, last year. He has been getting in the gym as often as possible to prepare for the walk.
He will start on 1 July and has already raised a phenomenal £933. You can make a donation on his Just Giving page.
You can also follow Dane's progress on his Facebook page: Dane's walking home for mental health.
Could you be an on-call firefighter?
We are recruiting on-call firefighters like Dane.
If you live or work within five minutes of an on-call fire station, you could be an on-call firefighter too.
Find out more about the role at join.essex-fire.gov.uk/on-call