Would you walk 500 miles, and then 500 more, for Help for Heroes?

Sunderland Theatre Company (STCo) is challenging people in the North East to join them in a 1,000 Mile Challenge.

Sunderland Theatre Company (STCo) is challenging people in the North East to join them in a 1,000 Mile Challenge.

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A historic theatre group has launched a 1,000-mile charity challenge to raise funds for Help for Heroes.

Sunderland Theatre Company (STCo) hopes to get 1,000 people marching a mile, and donating £1 to the charity.

The amateur theatre group, which was established in 1893 and now rehearses at Deptford & Millfield Community Centre, was inspired to raise funds for the charity as its latest musical, Sunshine on Leith, focuses on the hardship faced by war veterans returning home.

STCo chairman Graeme Smith said: “The performance really does bring home the harsh realities of life for our soldiers.

“We really felt that we wanted to give something back, and use this event to raise money for a cause that is increasingly close to our heart.

“The challenge was inspired by The Proclaimers’ classic, I’m Gonna Be (500 Miles), so we decided to ask people to collectively walk 500 miles and 500 more, with the aim of raising £1,000 for charity.”

STCo, which is taking to the stage at Sunderland College’s new Visual and Performing Arts (VPA) centre at its Bede Campus, to perform Sunshine on Leith from March 2-5, is a not-for-profit organisation and is thought to be among the oldest amateur theatre companies in the country.

The company – which is run entirely by volunteers – is hoping that as well as its charity challenge, it will be able to raise more money to fund Help for Heroes rehabilitation centre Phoenix House, in Catterick, from a collection at the show.

Tickets for Sunshine On Leith are on sale for £10, with all money raised from the performance reinvested to allow the theatre company to hire space to hold its rehearsals and groups across the year.

For more information, or to book tickets for Sunshine on Leith, visit www.sunderlandtheatre.co.uk.

To take part in the walk a mile challenge, donate to https://www.justgiving.com/stco1000 or by texting “STCz50 £1” to 70070.