Professor celebrates birthday by completing 150-mile charity challenge walk
A LITTLE thing like getting older isn't going to stop this walking wonder complete his charity challenge.
Grimsby-born Les Bell decided to celebrate his 70th birthday in style by walking 150 miles from his home in Warwickshire to "where his heart is" in Grimsby.
The University Of Lincoln professor decided to take on the challenge after he dreamed his daughter told him to "get off his backside and do something about it" after he complained he would not be able to sign up for Voluntary Services Abroad due to a bad back.
Her words resonated with Les, an avid Grimsby Town fan, and before he knew it he had signed up a personal trainer and was working out in the gym in preparation for his trek, which will raise money for the charity.
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Once a self-confessed 15 stone "bundle of lard", Les has slimmed down to a svelte 12 stone in just 15 months and feels fitter than he has felt for 20 years.
He said: "I have always been a bit of a rebel and this is me saying 'I'm 70 years old, so what?' my age doesn't come into it. I am not that old yet!
"If I could have played football for Grimsby Town's First Team I would but as I can't, walking will just have to do. As long as my knees and ankles hold out I will be fine."
Les will set off on his Home To Home journey today from Kenilworth and walk an average of ten miles a day for two weeks until he reaches the Fisherman's Memorial statue in St James' Square, Grimsby.
He returns to Grimsby as often as he can and has fond memories of his time at Old Clee and Wintringham schools and Park Congregational Church.
He taught at Yarborough Boys' Primary School and still travels to support Grimsby Town. He is currently Professor Of Educational Leadership at the Centre for Educational Research and Development (CERD) University Of Lincoln.
He has already smashed his £1,000 fundraising target and has now upped his goal to £1,500, which will help sustainable community projects in the developing world.
A reluctant convert to social media, Les will also update a blog on his iPad to keep friends and family posted on his progress, describing it as "another thing he never thought he'd be doing".
He hopes to finish his walk at 4.30pm on Sunday, August 12 and supporters are invited to meet him there or join him for a drink at The Haven in Appian Way.
He added: "I regard Grimsby as my home town and in many ways I never really left. I am looking forward to it and now I just want to get started."
Show your support
Friends can follow Les and sponsor him by logging onto www.hometo homewalk.wordpress.com and at www.justgiving.com/Les-Bell