Bridlington teacher's 1,300-mile hitchhike for African education
A BRIDLINGTON teacher is hitchhiking more than 1,300 miles to raise funds to improve access to education for children in Africa.
Jon Hooper, who teaches IT at Headlands School and Community Science College, will travel through seven countries on his way to Croatia, hoping to raise £1,000 for Link Community Development.
He said: "A few years ago, I went to a school in Ghana, which was really enlightening.
"You see the kids in poverty and it is an experience I never want to forget.
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"I was shouting at a lad, who was about nine or ten, because he was late for school.
"Once I'd finished shouting he apologised and said it was because he was fetching water.
"The next day I saw him carrying water on his head. It was brown and horrible. I felt awful.
"The school was so rough and the classrooms had no windows."
The organisation's work reaches more than 400 schools in Ghana, South Africa, Uganda, Malawi and Ethiopia.
The hitchhike challenges across Europe started in 1992. Since then, more than 8,000 people have taken part, raising almost £4m.
Mr Hooper said: "It's disgusting some people do not have access to a basic education. How can they achieve and make something of their life?
"An education is something that can be taken for granted, but something everyone should be entitled to."
Although Mr Hooper has done quite a bit of travelling in the past, he has never hitchhiked before.
He will set off from Liverpool with his partner Rachel Atkinson.
Apart from paying for a ferry from Dover, the pair will hitchhike the rest of the way.
"I'm hoping the fact we will be a male/female partnership will make us look less threatening," he said.
"There is also a possibility of fancy dress and maybe some crazy leggings or a wig.
"The route will take us through France, Belgium, German, Austria, Slovenia and Croatia using a mixture of cars, backs of trucks – basically anything that will pull over and give us a lift.
"I would love to get a ride on the back of a truck.
"Service stations are my best bet for getting picked up.
"We are restricted from travelling at night and I will be taking a tent to sleep in."
The pair will be getting a flight home.
"This challenge combines my love of travel with my enthusiasm for charity," he said.
"Fingers crossed, I can make it to Croatia in time for my flight home."
Visit uk.virginmoneygiving.com/hooperjon to sponsor Mr Hooper.