A MAN who used his love of long-distance walking to raise funds for Barnsley Hospice has been nominated for a Proud of Barnsley award.

Tom Wilkinson, of Darton Lane, Mapplewell has raised thousands of pounds through three sponsored walks, the first in 2017.

This year he had a special companion to help him out - his pet pooch Angie.

Tom, 26, completed a coastal walk from Saltburn to Flamborough.

Tom explained: “One of my neighbours recently passed away and was cared for by the hospice.

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“The hospice did a lot to help her and so I wanted to raise money for them on this year’s walk.

“This year I wanted to do the walk with a group, so I got three of my friends involved.

“Three of us were raising money for the hospice and one of us was raising money for The UK Sepsis Trust in honour of his dad.”

Tom chose his team especially for the 100-mile walk along the Cleveland Way and knew one important addition could not be left at home, his three-year-old pointer Angie.

“We’ve had Angie since she was two,” said Tom. “Ever since we got her she has had a lot of energy and needs a lot of exercise. I thought that having her with us would give her all the exercise she needs and more.”

Angie became the group’s fifth member and undertook the five-day challenge alongside her human team members, Tom, Josh Hinds, Liam Holland and Nick Chemy.

“We all took tents and carried our supplies and so did Angie,” said Tom.

“She had a little backpack with her food in it and she took it on and didn’t bat an eyelid.

“She would run in front and chase seagulls, we had to make sure she was on the lead most of the time though, so she didn’t get too excited and fall off a cliff.

“She likes sleeping in the tent, which was nice for me, because it rained a lot on the first couple of days and I was drenched, but Angie is like a little space heater so she warmed me right up.

“She definitely helped with the fundraising aspect because while people were kind of blind to the bright orange hospice t-shirts, they made a fuss of Angie, and then they had to take notice of what we were doing. She definitely helped us get more money.”

The four raised £2,000, which will be split between Barnsley Hospice and The UK Sepsis Trust.

Tom says Angie is now a firm member of the team.

“I’m definitely going to do more fundraising with Angie, she is our lucky charm,” he added.