AN ancient custom has been revived by the Ribble Valley’s first citizen to raise money for charity.

Ribble Valley Mayor Coun Michael Ranson has challenged himself to walk the borough boundaries during the next 12 months.

The custom, known as ‘beat the bounds’ will see Coun Ranson walk the 85-mile distance during his mayoral year.

He will undertake the trek in 20 sections, ranging from four to six miles, after starting last week.

He is inviting residents from across the borough, which only came into existence in 1974, to join him in the walks and raise cash through sponsorship for his chosen charities, Ribble Valley Crossroads Care and Homestart Ribble Valley.

The custom’s roots go back to the Middle Ages when parishes reaffirmed their boundaries by having processions around them, stopping at each boundary marker to pray for protection and blessings for the land.

Coun Ranson said: “I hope to put a modern twist on this ancient tradition by raising money for my chosen charities and invite residents to join me in any or all of the walks.”

The walks have been devised by the borough council’s health development officer Barrie Williams. They cover different sections of the borough boundary and a reasonable level of fitness and mobility is required to take part, although at least one of the walks will be accessible to mobility scooters, pushchairs and wheelchairs.

The first walk last week saw his mayor leaving the Gamecock pub in Whalley Road, near Great Harwood, and finishing in Sabden.Further walks are on June 25 from Nick of Pendle to Downham, from Downham to Rimington on July 9 and from Rimington to Gisburn on July 16.