INTREPID explorer and fundraising teacher Steve Hill has returned from his latest trip to Africa to run in the Uganda Marathon and is on target to raise well in excess of £5,000.

The deputy head of St Joseph's RC Primary School in Shaw completed the gruelling 26.2-mile course around the hilly villages of Masaka on June 1 in five-and-a-half hours.

But 47-year-old Steve, who has helped raise more than £90,000 for numerous charities over the last 10 years, said his involvement in the race was “not about the time, but the experience”.

The Year 6 teacher told The Oldham Times: “It was a very tough course – very hilly - and it was very hot and humid.

“But there was lots of stopping and taking selfies with the villagers and doing high fives. We weren’t chasing times. The way I see it is, if you run past those kids, you’ve got a heart of stone.”

Before the race, Steve was delighted to learn he had been honoured with the award of race number 1 for the event, in which there were 180 international runners and 4,900 local participants.

“It was a bit embarrassing, really,” he said. “Because, obviously, there was no way I was going to finish anywhere near the front, but it was a huge honour.”

Steve was there for eight days and described his time there as “a very humbling week”.

“It felt so special to be welcomed into the community there,” he said.

The marathon event came at the end of a series of visits and activities at various institutions, including a home which rehabilitates teenagers who have been living on the streets and an orphanage looking after children who have been bringing up their own children, also on the streets.

Steve also returned to the Bugabira Primary School in Masaka, where he spent time last year, to see the progress of various project he helped set up.

This time, they did some recycling work. He said: “They have a big problem with plastic waste, so we made playground equipment out of plastic and wood."

He also visited the Jomain Academy, which caters for 48 children, on the island of Kalnagala in the middle of Lake Victoria, where they made play equipment and played football and organised a sports day.

Steve added: “It was wonderful to go out into the community and around the course on the marathon day, followed by a celebration in the evening.

“We’ve raised £5,000 so far but we’re doing more fundraising in school on July 7 and on October 11.”

In event has also been arranged with Oldham’s “singing pilot” Stuart Beech, on October 11.