May the force be with Leeds man on 400-mile trek

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A Leeds man has set off on a 400-mile trek in aid of Children in Need - and is undertaking the entire challenge whle dressed as Darth Vader.

Gavin Harrison is set to walk from Coldstream in the Scottish Borders to the BBC television studios in London.

The 39-year-old set off on his mammoth challenge on Sunday morning, from the Co-operative store in Coldstream.

He aims to cover at least 20 miles each day before arriving in the capital by November 18 – the night of the annual Children In Need broadcast.

The walk mimics the route taken over 350 years ago by 6,000 soldiers under the command of General Monck, as they set off from the Borders town on an arduous march to London, to help restore Charles II to the British throne.

Gavin said: “The Coldstream to London march is well-known in historical circles so I thought it was an interesting route to follow for this fundraising walk.

“I’m absolutely passionate about helping Children In Need.

“I have planned in lots of stops at charities that have been helped by Children In Need, including Pudsey.

“I am also hoping to have friends and colleagues or anyone wishing to join me in Star Wars replica costumes throughout my journey.

“It’s an incredible charity which helps improve the lives of youngsters all over the world and I want to raise as much money as I possibly can.”

Co-op area manager, Alan Gordon, said: “The staff at the Co-op here in Coldstream were very honoured to be helping Darth, aka Gavin, launch his charity walk.

“We hope the public get behind him.

“He shouldn’t be too difficult to spot – it’s not every day you see Darth Vader hiking along the roads of Scotland and England!”

To donate, visit bit.ly/2eXg3eU.

You can also check Gavin’s progress by following the Twitter feed: @DarthVaderGav.