EXAMINER chief soccer writer Mel Booth will be swapping his matchday boots for hiking boots when he takes part in this year's Charity Challenge.

Mel, 46, is already in training for the six-and-a-half-mile trek on May 22.

Mel, a familiar face to thousands of Huddersfield Town supporters, is taking part in the event to raise money for victims of the Asian tsunami.

"I'm aiming to raise much- needed funds for a refugee camp on the south-west coast of Sri Lanka," explained Mel, who has been a regular visitor to the Indian Ocean island for the past 10 years.

"The area, around Ambalangoda, was severely hit by the tsunami and many, many people there have lost everything.

"I have friends near Beruwela who have been helping out at the camp, which is giving shelter to around 200 people who have lost their homes.

"They are facing a long, hard battle to rebuild their lives and the cash I raise will go directly, along with other money which has been donated, to providing everyday items they need."

Fold-up mattresses, water flasks, clothing, underwear and toiletry items were on the shopping list when Mel's friends, Lyn and Barry Kempen from North Yorkshire, took aid to the camp last month.

"Having collected cash to provide direct help, they found out what the people needed most, went up to Colombo to buy it and then distributed it to the needy," added Mel.

"That's what will happen to the money I raise, and to cash which has been pledged by Jules Hobson and Tracy Bird, who held a dance in Upperthong, and by Holmspun Mill Shop and Cafe in the Drill Hall at Thongsbridge."

Mel is unsure how much he will raise although he is hoping for lots of support from colleagues in the Examiner's newsroom.

"Whatever I raise will help this very deserving cause," he said.

* To sponsor Mel contact the Examiner on 01484 430000.