Fire boss Paul is blazing a trail

Firefighter Paul Howey is gearing up for a gruelling 4,700-mile trek across America to raise money for families of his fallen colleagues.

Firefighter Paul Howey is gearing up for a gruelling 4,700-mile trek across America to raise money for families of his fallen colleagues.

Paul, 38, green watch manager at Morpeth, will cross the USA on a dirt bike in May to raise funds for the Fire Service National Benevolent Fund.

He will need 101 separate maps to complete the 4,741-mile journey on his Honda XR650L motorbike, also raising cash for the Prostate Cancer Charity.

Starting in Tennessee, the route crosses nine states and is almost entirely off-road following dirt, gravel, forest and farm roads and occasionally dried-up river beds and abandoned railroads.

Paul, of Norman Terrace, Morpeth, said: "I've been riding bikes off-road since I was 12 and have always wanted to do something like this.

"The Trans-America Trail looks like an amazing journey and it is a great opportunity to raise money for two charities that are important to me, the Fire Service National Benevolent Fund and the Prostate Cancer Charity.

"Being a firefighter myself means that I can really appreciate the work that the Fire Service National Benevolent Fund does to help serving and retired fire service personnel through injury and illness, and also to their widows and dependants."

In all, he will be on the trail for around six weeks - four of them totally off-road.

Paul said: "I chose to raise money for the Prostate Cancer Charity as well because they offer specific advice and support for this type of cancer, which is the most commonly diagnosed cancer in men in the UK."

To support Paul's fundraising adventure, go to www.justgiving. com/phowey to make a donation to the Fire Service National Benevolent Fund.

Alternatively, you can go to www. justgiving.com/pjhowey to make a donation to the Prostrate Cancer Charity.

To find out more about Paul's ride across the USA, go to www.transamtrail. co.uk

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