TWO friends are preparing to embark on a 52-mile trek across the New Forest to support a school in Ghana.

Teenagers Julia Davis from Redlynch and her school friend Rebecca Thomas, who both attend Canford School in Dorset, will be attempting the double marathon length walk on April 12.

The walk is in aid of the Educational Developments Projects Trust, supporting the Awutu-Winson School in Ghana. Starting in Redlynch in the early hours the walk will take them through Stoney Cross, Brockenhurst and Beaulieu, returning through Lymington, Sway, Burley and Linwood before finishing back in Redlynch late in the evening. They will be supported by family and friends throughout the walk.

"Education is the only way of escaping a life of poverty in much of Africa,” said Julia. “In Ghana the secondary school education we take for granted is not free and most families are unable to afford it.

“I am part of a small group who will be visiting the school in July with the aim of establishing a long term link between this school and our own.

“As part of my fundraising efforts I would like to raise at least £260 by walking two marathons in 24 hours and would like people to sponsor me for each mile that I do. I have never walked this far before, my furthest distance is 40 miles, so as encouragement to keep going I am asking for more sponsorship for the later miles.”