A HIKING headteacher will come in wearing fancy dress, lets students shave his head and run 10km around the school in a bid to raise sponsorship money for a charity challenge.

Jonathan Bland, the co-headteacher of Stanway School, is leading a team of family and friends to take on the Three Peaks Challenge at the end of May.

The group will be starting at Britain’s highest mountain Ben Nevis in Scotland on Sunday, May 28 and then scaling Scafell Pike in Cumbria and finally Snowdon in Wales on the subsequent days.

Money raised will be going to Hand in Hand – a charity Mr Bland has been a trustee of for nearly two decades after a visit to Africa inspired him to get into teaching.

He said: “When I was 20, during my student days I went to Kenya and spent some time working in a school set up for street children.

“It was after that I knew I wanted to go into education – it was the sole reason for getting into teaching.

“When I came back I became a trustee for the charity Hand in Hand which is based in Witham.

“So when I was 30 I fundraised for them by doing the London Marathon and now I am turning 40 later this year and wanted to do this.

“What this charity does is not just get children into school, but support them through it.

“Students here get all sorts of other benefits like careers advice and other advantages which should be delivered to children everywhere.”

The charity works with established organisations in Kenya and Uganda to help people escape poverty.

Mr Bland has begun training for the challenge and is looking forward to what the students have in store for him with the mini challenges in exchange for sponsorship money.

He said: “Doing it in consecutive days means there is a physical aspect to it so I’ve been doing 10km runs and have got myself on the step machine.

“I have also been roped into doing some challenges at the school which have been set by the students.

“There is a day when I have to come in wearing fancy dress, I’m letting the pupils shave my head and whilst they are doing their sports day I will be running a 10km course around them.

“I want them to know if you want to be able to do something then you can achieve it.

“Hopefully it will help them to see me setting my own personal fitness goals and then trying to achieve them.”

So far, more than £1,500 has been raised of a £5,000 target.

Sponsorship forms have been left at the school office, and donations can be made at mydonate.bt.com/fundraisers/jonbland40.