A POPPY appeal organiser is set to swap his running shoes for hiking boots when he re-traces a Second World War escape route across the Pyrenees.

Mike Jones, 61, from Goytre, is taking part in The Freedom Trail from France into Spain, following the route made by soldiers, airmen and civilians in the Second World War as they escaped Nazi-occupied France.

Plaques and memorials dedicated to those who risked their lives will be passed on the route across rocky ridges, beech forests and mountain lakes.

Mr Jones, a member of the Royal British Legion and poppy appeal co-ordinator in Gwent, has previously completed three London Marathons, but says this will be one of his toughest challenges.

He said: "Give me a pair of running shoes and I would be okay, but this is going to be a bit different.

"It will be quite arduous because of the terrain but I am looking forward to it.

"This is the most nervous I have been because it is out of my comfort zone."

Mr Jones has already raised more than £2,300 on a JustGiving page.

He is due to set fly out on Sunday, September 17, and will then start the six-day trek from St Girons, south west France, on Monday.

The trek will see Mr Jones and around 10 others in the group walk on remote trails and reach peaks of 2522m before descending into Spain.

Writing on his JustGiving page, Mr Jones said: "As a committed Royal British Legion member and volunteer I am raising funds for the Poppy Appeal to help support members of our Armed Forces Family past and present in their time of need.

"Thank you for your donations every penny raised is used to provide the valuable support to the Armed Forces Community 364 days per year.

"We provide support for service men, women and their families. From their date of qualification the receipt of seven days pay, for the rest of their lives."

To donate, visit justgiving.com/fundraising/poppymike

Find out more about The Freedom Trail