Barnet Council’s Steve Marshall is welcomed by children at Blessed Dominic Catholic School in Colindale during his charity walking challenge.
A teacher walked nearly 20 miles and visited 70 Barnet schools in one day to raise £1,400 for charity.

The idea arose when Barnet Council’s Steve Marshall ditched his car and instead delivered packages to 13 schools by foot and public transport back in June 2023. He thought it would take him all day, but in fact found time to visit an extra school and still be back in his Colindale office by 2pm.

On his return, his Chief Executive Neil Marlow challenged him to visit as many of Barnet’s educational establishments in one day as possible – and no car allowed! Steve rose to the challenge and, on Friday, walked just short of 40,000 steps and used 30 buses to visit 70 schools in nine hours and 45 minutes.

He said: “Neil jokingly suggested the challenge and we had a laugh thinking of criteria and rules for it. But everyone who knows me knows I do not joke – and I love logistics!

“By the time the summer term ended I’d plotted a route to take in Barnet’s 133 educational establishments, with an anticipated time scale of just over 24 hours. The summer break found me checking out some interesting short cuts, like alleyways, resulting in an estimated time of just over 18 hours.

“But this would mean getting to some schools when they’re not open – so I decided to make it a 10-hour day from 8am to 6pm. Thank you to all my supporters.”

Steve works as a Science Advisory Teacher for the council’s Barnet Education and Learning Service (BELS), which provides statutory education services across the borough. He hopes his challenge will inspire more parents and children to get to and from school by walking, cycling or using public transport, reducing pollution from car exhaust fumes. This will help the council achieve its target of making Barnet a net zero borough by 2042.

Steve also used the opportunity to raise money for charity, collecting £1,400 in donations. The proceeds will be split between the MS Society, Live Unlimited – which provides opportunities to Barnet’s look after children and care leavers, and the borough’s School Library Resources Service.

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