An Ilford charity embarked on a walk around the world in 80 days – without setting foot outside of Redbridge.

Sixty representatives from the Super Cool Friends Charity (SCFC)Wellbeing Walkers ventured to Fairlop Waters,to complete the first leg of their mammoth task.

In the same way that Jules Verne's fictional character Phileas Fogg suddenly announced he would go around the world in 80 days, charity organiser Bali Bhatti made the same challenge.

Mr Bhatti and his friends intend to walk the equivalent of almost 70,000 miles in groups of 10, taking 8,500 steps a day for 80 consecutive days including a walk around Fairlop Waters every Sunday.

Mr Bhatti, who has lived in Goodmayes for 35 years, said: "We worked out that three times round the pond at Fairlop is about 8,500 steps so that seemed the perfect number to start on when we all met up. The Mayor of Redbridge kindly started us off and joined us for the first leg at the weekend.

"It’s all for a very good cause as each of our 10 groups is putting in £500 and that will go towards sponsoring 10 different countries around the world. My group is sponsoring Gambia, where specifically the money will go to a Gambian Hospital."

Redbridge mayor Cllr Roy Emmett, who was present for the start of the first leg, said: "I have known Bali and the charity for some years and they have already done wonders to raise money for foodbanks here in Ilford, but I think this walking idea is absolutely brilliant and hopefully will capture the public’s attention too.

"We all know the change of lifestyle due to Covid has impacted on our mental and physical health, as well as socially and financially. But the benefits of walking together are universally acknowledged as good for improving our health, especially when we are talking about these sort of distances."