Taking inspiration from The Proclaimers, a North East managing director has challenged himself to walk 500 miles, then 500 more, to support a charity during the COVID-19 lockdown.

John Burns, who owns the office solutions provider Diamond Group, decided to take on the challenge after ditching the car at the beginning of lockdown and walking the six miles from his home in Washington to the office in Team Valley and back.

Seeing this not only as an opportunity to get fit but also raise some vital funds for a local charity, John set himself a 1,000 mile – and £1,000 – target.

John said: “We have worked with Age UK Northumberland for over three years and as a team are always keen to do anything we can to support them.

“After a conversation with Amy Whyte, head of charitable services for the charity, our team jumped into action using our company vans and personal time to deliver over 800 care packages to local residents who are unable to leave their homes.

“It was wonderful to see the team come together for such a worthy cause but I wanted to do something more which is why I turned my commute into a challenge!”

At the time of writing, John is over 600 miles into his challenge and hopes to complete it by the end of August.

Amy Whyte from Age UK Northumberland said: “We’ve been overwhelmed by the support from John and his team during this difficult time. As a charity we rely on fundraising, donations to help fund our services. At a time when all of our resources are under considerable pressure, the support we have received from Diamond Group is nothing short of incredible and has helped us to make a difference to so many people in the community.

“Our focus during this difficult time, is to ensure that older people living in Northumberland receive the food and necessities that they need, as well as support and advice to help them live well and overcome loneliness and isolation.

“Alone we can make a difference, together we can make a change and we’re so grateful for all the support we have and continue to receive.”

To find out more about John’s walking challenge and to donate, visit the JustGiving page at https://justgiving.com/fundraising/diamond-group

To find out more about the Diamond Group visit the website here: https://www.diamond-group.net/

To find out more about Age UK and how you can support them, please visit the website at https://www.ageuk.org.uk/