Paul’s en route to Marseille for football charity

Paul Hutchinson at St James's Park, Newcastle.
Paul Hutchinson at St James's Park, Newcastle.
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A CHARITY volunteer from Northallerton has saddled up to ride 1.400 miles in two weeks to help blind and underprivileged children enjoy football.

Paul Hutchinson, 43, started his tour at St James’ Park in Newcastle on Saturday and will pedal to the Velodrome in Marseille, covering more than 100 miles a day.

The mission is to raise funds for Lionsraw, a charity that runs legacy tours and encourages football fans to make a difference for children and young people.

He said: “I know the ride will be tough, with some big climbs which will see me defy the laws of physics, being a big lad on a pretty light bike, but I’m determined to pedal through the pain.

“The work the charity does is amazing and I want to raise as much as I can.”

Mr Hutchinson has been working as a project manager with children in the favelas, or slums, of Curitiba in Brazil, helping to build a Children’s Education Centre to enhance their lives through football.

In the last five years, Mr Hutchinson, from Great Smeaton, and 1,000 other volunteers have helped 6,000 disadvantaged children and young people in tournament host countries like South Africa, Poland, Brazil and France.

The money he raises will be used to develop Blind Football at a centre in Brazil for children with profound physical and mental disabilities.

Lionsraw have helped set up urban football projects for girls, football schools, multi sports days and build community projects in both Curitiba and Marseille, home of the 2016 Euro championships.

Mr Hutchinson said: “Visiting the communities as part of Lionsraw has made me see how fortunate I have been for the last 30 years to be able to play and watch football in the UK, Europe and Asia.”

To find out more about the fundraising mission or to make a donation, visit https://www.justgiving.com/Paul-Hutchinson14