A sports tutor from North East Surrey College of Technology (Nescot) will run a marathon through Sierra Leone this month to raise money for a children’s charity and in memory of his friend.

Daniel Raffo, 33, is running on May 26, in aid of Street Child, which works to build schools, train teachers and work with youngsters sleeping on the streets.

Mr Raffo will be running in memory of his childhood friend Lance Corporal Nicky Mason, a soldier who died aged 26 in Afghanistan in 2008 after his patrol was hit by an explosion.

Mr Raffo said: “To be honest I’m pretty nervous about the marathon, but it will be an honour to run with Nicky’s name on my back.

“Nicky was a really special guy, he was a great friend and one of those people everyone wants to be around. I know he’d be proud of me for running this marathon.”

The father of two, from North Ockendon in Havering who teaches sport to BTEC students, will spend a few days with Street Child visiting their projects following the race.

He has previously worked in Asia teaching orphans for a charity, but said he had been motivated to run the Sierra Leone marathon after watching Blood Diamond.

The 2006 film, starring Leonardo DiCaprio, was set in the Sierra Leone Civil War and covers issues including gems being used to fund arms deals, the gruesome atrocities committed during the conflict, and the use of child soldiers.

He said: “Becoming a father makes you see things in a completely different light, because you think of your own children.

“They’re a little worried about me going out to Africa, but they understand why I’m doing it and I think they’re quite proud of their dad.”

To donate, visit justgiving.com/Daniel-Raffo.