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Most people would want to celebrate their 54th birthday with a party, meal out or even a drink with friends and family. Not so for Mick Ainscow.

The Ribble Valley Council auditor from Gillibrand South in Chorley will instead be recovering from walking two marathon distances over the previous two days – in Saharan temperatures and 90 per cent humidity.

Mick takes on the 84km Sahara Challenge through the Draa Valley in Morocco on October 21 and 22, to raise money to help disabled and terminally ill children in Lancashire. The fundraising will enable Newlife Foundation for Disabled Children – the UK’s largest charity provider of specialist equipment for children with disabilities and terminal illness – to provide essential support for under-19s in the county.

Mick said: “I enjoy walking and recently completed the Yorkshire Three Peaks in just over ten hours. However, I don’t think that is really going to prepare me for this next challenge. The distance isn’t an issue – it’s the extreme temperatures and 90 per cent humidity, and the need to keep hydrated, that will be the real problem.”

He added: “I am getting a lot of support from family, friends and colleagues, so I hope to be able to raise in excess of £1,000 for Newlife. I was attracted to the charity because it guarantees that 100 per cent of what I collect will go directly to help a child or children – and the money will be restricted for use in Lancashire.”

His local pub – The Sebastopol in Moor Road, Chorley – is hosting a race night on Saturday 10 September in support of Mick’s gruelling challenge. He said: “Anyone who would like to have a bit of fun while helping to fundraise to improve a child’s life is welcome to come along and join in. The more the merrier!”

Newlife has provided £518,091 of specialist equipment for 428 children in Lancashire and is currently working with a further 16 families in the county, with equipment needs totalling £24,967. For more information, go to:

Mick is getting in training for the event by walking part of the way home from work in Clitheroe once a week, gradually increasing the distance. He will also be fitting in ‘sand walks’ along the coast around Fleetwood and long weekend rambles with his dog Bailey. He added: “My 54th birthday falls the day after the two-day challenge is completed – so I hope I’ve still got the energy and enthusiasm to celebrate!”

If you want to support Mick, his JustGiving page is:

Pictured: Mick Ainscow