A Bolton businessman has set off on his bike ride to Australia - hoping to raise £500,000 for two charities close to his heart.

Andrew Crompton, 57, an insurance broker who lives in Anglezarke but grew up in Over Hulton, set off from Bolton Lads and Girls Club over the weekend.

He swapped his work suit for lycra and has begun his eight-month cycling safari from Manchester to Melbourne cycling across three continents, fourteen countries and ten timezones.

The businessman has made a career out of assessing risk but has decided to throw caution to the wind as he plans to cycle from one end of the world to another.

By the end of his incredible journey, Andrew will have cycled his bike 8,500 miles and hopefully raised £500,000 funds for Bolton Lads and Girls Club and Carers Trust, his chosen charities.

Andrew is used to the '9 to 5' of a 37-year career in corporate insurance broking with his own insurance company, Watson Laurie Ltd, which he opened in 1988.

Andrew said: "I reached a point where I wanted to adopt a much slower pace in life and focusing on this challenge is really helping me make that transition mentally whilst also keeping me physically fit.

"I’m also determined to raise as much money as humanly possible for two fantastic charities that I’ve supported for a long time and which are close to my heart, Carers Trust and the Bolton Lads and Girls Club.

"It’s going to be a hard slog at times.

"But it’ll also be an unbelievable adventure.

"I’m really looking forward to visiting incredible places, meeting wonderful people and trying out some of the incredible food along the way.

"As if that isn’t motivating enough, I’ll be spurred on every wheel turn of the way by the fact that I’m raising money to benefit unpaid carers and vulnerable children, I just hope my knees hold out."

Andrew chose to support these two charities as he has seen first hand the work they do.

He first learned about the importance of unpaid family carers when a friend became the primary carer for his parents, making him realise how little support and recognition there is for unpaid carers, despite all the sacrifices they make to look after family members.

Andrew’s company, Watson Laurie, has been supporting Carers Trust ever since.

And in 2000, Andrew was introduced to Bolton Lads and Girls Club, when he agreed to become a mentor.

“I had no idea of how many deprived kids there were in my home town of Bolton and some of their stories were, and still are, quite shocking and incredibly moving," Andrew added.

Andrew set off on his adventure on Friday and his route will take him down to London, over the channel to France and then on to Belgium, Germany, Austria, Hungary and Romania before arriving in Turkey by the end of September.

He will then embark on a two-month ride across Turkey and Iran.

At the end of November he’ll fly from Iran to India where he’ll spend seven weeks, including Christmas, cycling from Mumbai to Chennai.

From Chennai it’s a flight to Bangkok for a three-week ride in the paddy fields of Thailand, Cambodia and Vietnam.

And in early February, Andrew will fly to Cairns in northern most Queensland for a two-month journey down the entire length of Australia’s eastern coast, arriving in Melbourne in early April.

Andrew has already ensured that all the costs he will incur on the trip are separately covered so every penny donated in support of Manchester to Melbourne for Carers will go towards funding the work of Carers Trust and the Bolton Lads and Girls Club.

Andrew's fundraiser has already reached £17,320 with pledges taking it to over £100,000, if you would like to donate go to https://www.justgiving.com/campaign/manchestertomelbourne