Botham dusts off walking shoes

The former cricketer Sir Ian Botham will dust off his walking shoes and set off on another fundraising expedition today taking in nine towns across the UK.

For the first time members of the public will be able to join "Beefy" as he walks to help blood cancer charity Leukaemia Research beat childhood leukaemia.

Beefy's Great British Walk - Against Childhood Leukaemia will take in nine towns across the UK from October 10 to 18.

This will be Sir Ian's 12th charity walk, kicking off in Taunton where he started his cricket career.

Starting from Somerset County Cricket Club, the public can join Beefy on a four-mile walk following the banks of the River Tone and along Bridgwater and Taunton Canal.

Taunton is where, 25 years ago, Beefy met youngsters with leukaemia who inspired him to start his fundraising walks.

Sir Ian, president of Leukaemia Research, said: "In 1985, when I first started walking to raise funds for Leukaemia Research, the survival rate for children with leukaemia was 20% now the survival rate is 80%.

"Join me on my 2008 walk and together we will help beat this terrible disease. I am determined to see all children survive in my lifetime."

Following Taunton, Sir Ian will take in Windsor, Tunbridge Wells, Bury St Edmunds, Stratford-Upon-Avon, Llandudno, Harrogate and Milngavie near Glasgow.

The 2008 Walk finishes in Durham, where he ended his professional cricket career. This is the first time a limited number of people can walk with Beefy in exchange for sponsorship.

Sir Ian said: "I need people to sign up now and make this my best walk ever."