A VERWOOD man completed a 24-hour walking challenge on his birthday to raise funds for a charity offering help to anyone affected by the diagnosis of single ventricle heart condition.

Retired teacher Iain Salmon, 58, from Woodlands, wanted to put himself out of his comfort zone whilst raising money for a good cause.

He walked 51 miles in 20 hours after starting the challenge at "the stroke of midnight" on Saturday, May 8.

Little Hearts Matter was Iain's chosen charity due to its links with one of his former pupils.

Iain said: "One of my ex-students Luke Newman is an uncle to two young boys with heart conditions, so I asked him if there’s any charity or organisation he recommends. He said that the British Heart Foundation gets a lot of support, but my fundraiser would make a big difference to Little Hearts Matter.

"Initially, this was a personal fundraiser but it has taken on a life of its own. It built up momentum on Saturday on social media as people made more and more donations. I thought a couple of hundred pounds would be great, but we have raised over £1200.

"The money raised will make a big difference to Little Hearts Matter."

Luke joined Iain for the start of the challenge, setting out to walk half of the total distance with him.

The pair had to contend with heavy rain and strong winds as they walked to Wimborne Square, Poole, Sandbanks, Bournemouth and Boscombe Piers, Hengistbury Head, Christchurch, Sopley, Ringwood, Moors Valley, Verwood and then Woodlands.

Iain said: "At the start it was fantastic. It was dry and the adrenalin was rushing through me. Then the rain started and didn’t stop until 9.30am, and from then the rain was intermittent.

"Walking from Wimborne to Sandbanks, I was completely drenched. When we walked from Sandbanks to Christchurch along the seafront, there was no one around. It was a slog as there was nothing and no one around to distract me.

"It was definitely harder than I thought it was going to be. I finished at 8.10pm after walking 51 miles in 20 hours."

Iain will also be undertaking a fundraiser in September for Julia's House, which he describes as "another fantastic charity".

To donate to Iain's fundraiser, visit: https://www.justgiving.com/fundraising/iain-salmon1