10 OCTOBER 2008

After notching up 8,000 miles and raising an incredible £12 million for leukaemia research during 11 fundraising walks, Ian Botham is on the march again.

The British sporting legend launched the latest of his long walks from Somerset cricket club's ground in Taunton on Wednesday. He'll finish 146 miles and eight days later in Durham, the place where he concluded his stellar cricket career.

For the first time members of the public are invited to join Sir Ian – who received a knighthood last year for his philanthropic efforts - as he treks through Windsor, Tunbridge Wells, Bury St Edmunds, Stratford-upon-Avon, Llandudno, Harrogate and Milngavie.

"It's 23 years since I first hit the road," says the 52-year-old. "I'm happy to say it's been worth every toe-blistering mile."

Ian says he was compelled to get involved with the cause after taking a wrong turn in hospital in 1977 while he was recovering from a foot operation. He ended up in a ward full of terminally ill children and wanted to do something to help. "To be told there was nothing that could be done for them was heartbreaking," he says.

Photo: ©
The cricket legend - pictured with cancer survivors Rachel and Jack, who will be joining him on the walk – will trek 146 miles from Taunton to Durham over the next eight days Photo: © RexClick on photo to enlarge