A 61-YEAR-OLD Wellington man has put his new pensioner's bus pass to good use . . . by becoming the first person to travel free from Land's End to John O'Groats and back!

The journey, which took two weeks, eight hours and 30 minutes, cost Richard Elloway nothing, but involved getting on and off nearly 80 buses.

Richard's epic trip only became possible with the introduction of the national bus pass scheme on April 1, which meant he could get from one end of the country to the other using his free pass on local buses.

Where possible he stayed in youth hostels as he is a lifetime member of the Youth Hostel Association and was raising money for their in-house charity, Breaks4Kids, which helps to provide holidays for disabled and disadvantaged children.

Speaking to the County Gazette at the finish, Richard said: "The advantage is over the sense of satisfaction that comes from being first.

"No other pensioner or resident has achieved what I have."

The retired teacher and veteran member of the Land's End to John O'Groats Association has already cycled the 434-mile route . . . twice.

At many points on his latest journey he was stranded in the evenings with no further buses.

He said: "I see problems for pensioners in the local area.

"If there are no further buses after 6pm what happens if they want to go to the theatre in the evening?

"They can't get back - they're stranded like me.

"The Government needs to be aware of some of the difficulties the buses pose.

"It's still not easy for people to get out and about.

"What's the point of being able to get out but not being able to get back?

"It hasn't put me off public transport - it has great potential to go without your car on holiday."

Richard has raised over £25,000 for Breaks4Kids - anyone wishing to donate still can by e-mailing him on richardelloway@talktalk.net