A walk from past to present

Mike Allport pulling on his walking boots to raise money for Wooler drop-in centre 50 years after recieving his Princes Trust gold award
Mike Allport pulling on his walking boots to raise money for Wooler drop-in centre 50 years after recieving his Princes Trust gold award

A north Northumberland man is reliving his youth tomorrow as he starts a trek retracing the steps of an expedition he took 50 years ago.

Mike Allport, from Wooler, will retrace the route he took on his Duke of Edinburgh’s Award (DofE) expedition back in 1963 to celebrate 50 years since achieving his Gold Award.

And the 67-year-old will be fund-raising to ensure that today’s youngsters in his village get the same opportunies that he did.

Tomorrow, Mike will begin his 100-mile walk which will take him from Marske in Redcar and Cleveland back home to Wooler.

Mike is planning to complete the challenge over four days to raise funds for a further DofE group at the Wooler Drop in Centre, giving more local young people the chance to do their DofE and develop skills for life and work.

The DofE is a youth charity which works with young people aged 14 to 24 from all backgrounds, helping them to develop essential life skills and build a brighter future.

The DofE was set up by its patron, The Duke of Edinburgh, in 1956 and today has more than 300,000 young people taking part in a programme every year. Mike is taking his own DofE challenge one step further second time around, adding an extra 20 miles to the expedition journey he made when he was 16.

He was the first person in the area to complete his Gold Duke of Edinburgh’s Award at the time and wanted to complete this challenge 50 years on because it was one of the important things that happened to him at that time in his life.

“Getting my Gold DofE changed my life, it gave me the confidence to try new things and I developed skills which have stayed with me throughout my life,” he said. “I hope I can raise sufficient funds for young people in a rural community to be given the opportunity to take part in their DofE programme”.

Nicola Meredith, director of the award’s North East region, said: “Mike’s dedication to volunteering for the DofE across the Northumberland area over the last 50 years has been unfaltering and we cannot thank him enough for going the extra 100 miles for our charity.”