Superman-dressed dad to complete 210-mile trek to raise money for terminally ill wife

Is it a bird? Is it a plane?

The pair finished on scooters
The pair finished on scooters

No, it's two Superman-dressed fundraisers from Gornal bibbing their scooters hooters on the way to the Red Lion on the last leg of their 220-mile "sponsored walk".

Mike Stobbs and his mate Les Hickens are the first to admit they did not meticulously plan their sponsored walk in aid of a Danish DNA test for Mike's wife Jodie who has been diagnosed with terminal cancer.

Geordie Mike and friend Les started off on Saturday from St James' Park and are still on course to return to the Red Lion in Lower Gornal on Saturday afternoon.

However, they will not be walking but riding electric scooters after the rigours of walking 30 miles every day took its toll on the tarmaccers.

Mike said: "Perhaps we should have taken it all a bit more seriously because if we would have done any research we might have found out you need to have some level of fitness.

"The only training I did for the 220-mile trek was walking Jodie up the aisle in November, and I took 19 years to get round to doing that."

The pair began at St James Park, Newcastle

The pair had decided to ditch the walking part of the sponsored walk and use electric scooters, but logistical problems meant they were forced to use foot express from Newcastle to Durham.

The 41-year-old was forced to walk a couple of stretches alone in the torrential after the Yorkshire Dales did for Les's bad back.

The dad of three said: "The physical side is really starting to kick in, both our feet are in a right mess, blisters places I didn’t know blisters were possible.

"We arrived in Rochdale after 10 hours walking through some of the most difficult terrain yet, the Yorkshire hills are a killer!"

Dressed in Supermen outfits the intrepid pair have been getting lots of encouragement by passers-by and motorists. Even though one Geordie pensioner was keen to point out Superman had put a few pounds on since he first saw him in a comic 60 years ago.

In Bradford, West Yorkshire, the pair made such an impression local John Brambani inducted Mike and Les into his shop The Trading Post's Hall of Fame. He even had a pair of replacement Supermen legs, but sadly for Mike and Les they were attached to a bar stool.

New legs Sir?

He said: "Only in Morley Street can this happen. I spotted these two characters and immediately thought I’ve got to get these these two super men in the TP Hall of Fame and show them my Superman legs bar table. What a couple of great guys and welcome to the Hall of Fame."

Mike and Les with their new friend in Bradford

The welcome was just as warm in Halifax, Mike said: "The scenery around this place is to die for, we just stopped off in Halifax for quick refuel at this amazing pub. The staff waved us in and give us the full Yorkshire hospitality.

"Beef baguettes, chips and donated £50 to the cause. Unbelievable people."

Mike said: "We've met some incredible people, many of which have put their hands in their pocket after just meeting us. From Bradford to Rochdale people couldn’t have made us more welcome. Our arms were ready to drop from waving at all the beeping cars."

After watching the drama unfold on social media Jodie helped source two scooters for Mike and Les to finish their incredible journey on two wheels instead of two blistered feet.

At the end of each day's travelling the friends debrief in a pub before hitting the hay, which might be later than planned as staff, regulars and fellow hotel guests usually want to hear more about why the superheroes are undertaking their challenge.

Superman having a well earned pint

However, Mike and Les might have given DC Comics might have a new storyline - the battle of the snoring Supermen.

A desperate Mike posted a video of his foghorn sounding friend on Facebook in the early hours: "I know it’s late but anybody out there can sort me out with some Kryptonite? Either that or I’m gonna smother him because he snores louder than anyone or anything."

Mike decided to do sponsored walk to raise £3,000 for a potentially lifesaving Scandinavian clinical DNA test for his wide Jodie, who was given 14 months to live last June after discovering she had cancer whilst pregnant. Oncologists at Russells Hall Hospital discovered she had oesophageal cancer, which had spread to her lungs, liver and lymphatic system. Last June the barmaid was given 14 months to live and was told only palliative care was available, however, she has responded well to treatment, even returning to work at the Red Lion, Lower Gornal.

Jodie and Mike Stobbs on their wedding day

Consultants told the couple about laboratory in Denmark, which takes part of the primary tumour to check the DNA for potential mutations in the cancer cells which could be differently treated. If successful this could give Jodie some extra years with husband Mike and children Jamie, 17, Niamh, 12 and Aoife, eight months.

The family needs to raise £3,000 to pay for the clinical test and friends have created a fundraising page on However, the total has already surpassed £4,000 and all of Jodie friends and family will be at the Red Lion on Saturday afternoon to celebrate the return of the Supermen.

Visit and search for Mike Stobbs.

Top Stories

More from the Express & Star

UK & International News