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Island folk of a sensitive nature may want to avert their eyes next week as charity superhero Speedo Mick kicks off his clothes, and his new challenge, on Lewis.
Starting on May 31 in Stornoway the Everton fan turned national phenomenon will strip down to his trademark blue undies and embark upon a new mammoth five-month trek across the UK and Ireland to hand out a share of £250,000 to worthy charities he will meet along the way.
Mick Cullen, 56, has trekked thousands of miles, attended hundreds of football matches and raised more than £650,000 in recent years.
The first leg of his journey this time around will take the intrepid trekker from Stornoway to Oban via Lewis, Harris, Berneray and North and South Uist.
His mainland journey will take him from the Seafood Capital to Inverness, Edinburgh and Glasgow before crossing back over the border.
He said: ‘The reason I’m doing the walk is primarily to give back to the people and the communities who have supported me and the fundraising I’ve done in the past.
‘The Covid-19 pandemic has placed a huge strain on the finances of so many worthy charities, so I’ll do anything I can to help.
‘In my life, I’ve been in some dark, lonely, hopeless places and for me, one the most rewarding parts of my fundraising has been to help people who are facing what I have faced.’
Superfit Mick, who has twice been nominated for a Pride of Britain Award, first hit the headlines in 2014 by swimming the English Channel in just under 16 hours – despite being a novice swimmer.
He turned up to Everton’s next home game in a pair of blue Speedos with ‘Channel Swimmer’ written on his chest, and his famous look was born.
The community hero, from Liverpool, was inspired to take up fundraising after his own battles with alcohol and drug dependency, isolation and homelessness.
His newest mission, the ‘Speedo Mick Giving Back Tour’ will start on May 31 and cover 2,000 miles, taking in five capital cities – London, Edinburgh, Cardiff, Dublin and Belfast.
Mick will walk up to 20 miles per day across five months wearing his undies, a swimming cap, Everton scarf and a pair of boots.
The main goal is to identify good causes in communities that are deserving of some of the funds he has already raised through previous missions, with a focus on underprivileged or homeless young people and mental health initiatives.
‘The Giving Back Tour has given me my purpose back after a really tough year and it’s helped me see light at the end of the tunnel,’ he added.
‘I can’t wait to just get out there and go, it’s the best feeling in the world to see people coming out to support me and if I can raise a smile just by walking down the road in my undies, then it’s all worth it.’
Mick also wants to raise more money to donate in future, with the footie fan just £350,000 away from hitting the £1million mark since he began in 2014.
Applicants are welcome to seek help from the Speedo Mick Foundation and are asked to apply through its website https://www.thespeedomickfoundation.org/.
To donate to Speedo Mick’s Giving Back Tour, visit https://www.gofundme.com/f/speedomick