A STOURBRIDGE fitness instructor is gearing up for a charity challenge to raise funds for Midlands Air Ambulance.

Simon Donovan, aged 26, will trek 20 miles from his home, near Bridgnorth, to Stevens Park, Wollescote, next Saturday (May 31), where he will teach a class before walking back.

To make the challenge even tougher, the British Military Fitness instructor will be carrying 35kg on his back throughout.

Simon, who formerly served with the TA Regiment Royal Mercian and Lancastrian Yeomanry, hopes to raise £1,000 for the charity, which provides life-saving care to patients across the region.

He said: "This will be a very challenging but certainly a rewarding task and I’m doing lots of training to make sure I am fully prepared.

"My training consists of everything from full body strength and conditioning, helping to deal with the 35kg weight of the bag I will be carrying, to general aerobic endurance training to fully prepare my body for the challenge.

"The Midlands Air Ambulance is a cause I am very passionate about and I hope to raise as much money as I can to help support them. I don’t think many people are aware that the charity receives no government or lottery funding so they are always eager for any support.

Simon added: "Also, as well as hoping to hit my target of raising £1,000, I want to raise awareness of the importance of undertaking exercise regularly, even if this is just a walk to work or school."

Adam Williams, the charity's regional fundraising manager, said: “We have such a great level of support from the local communities we serve, and it’s always great to hear about the more unusual fundraising activities such as Simon’s gruelling 44 mile walk with his 35kg rucksack.

"We’re extremely grateful to him and everyone who is sponsoring his challenge, their support will help keep our service operational in the local community.”

To sponsor Simon, visit www.justgiving.com/Simon-Donovan1.