A CHARITY walk planned by retired fireman Mick Dunn has raised £3,500 – with more to come.

He will set out on his 100km, 20-hour, non-stop trek around Blenheim Park at Woodstock at 8pm next Saturday, hoping to finish by 4pm the following day.

His aim is to raise as much money as he can for research into Rett Syndrome, a genetic disorder which affects mainly girls.

His great niece, one-year-old Grace Elliott, has been diagnosed with the condition. The day of the walk has been named ‘Grace’s Day’.

Supporters will be joining him at various times during the walk, including his wife Shelly at the start, and members of Grace’s family are likely to join him at the end.

A 10-mile walk is also being arranged at Lincoln by other family members in support of the charity.

Mr Dunn, who lives in Kidlington, said: “My training has been going well and I have been assisted by Chris Chesterman, of Back 2 Best, a specialist based in Headington.

“Chris has helped me on many of my charity events, making sure I can complete my challenges relatively pain free.

“I would like to thank everyone who has donated. We have certainly made a difference to Rett UK.”

Rett Syndrome is a rare disorder that affects brain development, often resulting in severe mental and physical disability.

It is said to affect about one in 12,000 girls born every year, but is rarely seen in boys.

Symptoms include difficulty with feeding, jerky limb movements and speech and mobility problems.

The Blenheim walk is the latest in a series of events Mr Dunn has organised for a variety of charities, raising between £30,000 and £40,000.

His most ambitious and most successful was leading a group up Mount Snowdon and for non-climbers, arranging a 24-hour treadmill walk, which netted a total of £20,000.

He said: “It is not only about raising money but raising awareness of the charities.”

Mr Dunn grew up in Northumberland and moved south when he joined the Army.

He served with the Royal Pioneer Corps, first at Northampton and later at Bicester. His Army service saw him in action in Northern Ireland and in the Gulf War. He spent the first five years of his fire service career at Rewley Road station in Oxford before moving to Kidlington, where he was based for 23 years.

His last official duty as a firefighter before retirement was to lay a wreath on behalf of the county fire and rescue service on the war memorial outside St Mary’s Church, Kidlington, during Remembrance weekend last November.

His Blenheim walk has attracted plenty of interest on the Oxford Mail website. One reader wrote: “This man’s amazing, always doing something for charity. Hope he beats his target.”

Another said: “Such a wonderful guy, wish him all the best for the walk.”

Samantha Vaughan, from Blenheim Palace, said: “We’re delighted to be hosting Grace’s Day and wish Mick well on what will, I am sure, be an incredibly tough challenge.”

Donations can be made at justgiving/fundraising/mick-dunn1