'Ian we love you' were the cries from school children in Tenby on Tuesday as they sent cricket legend Ian Botham off in style on the next leg of the charity walk round Wales.

A seasoned charity walker, 'Beefy' Botham arrived in the resort on Monday afternoon as part of his mammoth hike to help raise a quarter-of-a-million pounds for the Noah's Ark Appeal.

Botham, one of England's greatest all-round cricketers, started his 229-mile walk on Friday in Machynlleth, the ancient capital of Wales, and is making his way round the country this week to the modern capital of Cardiff, as part of the campaign to build the new Children's Hospital of Wales.

On Monday, stage four of the nine-day hike, Botham made his way from Wolfscastle to Tenby, a journey that saw him pass through Canaston Bridge, Templeton - where he was given three cheers by children from the village's school - Begelly, Pentlepoir and Wooden, where cheering and waving crowds gathered along the route, treating the walkers to a real Pembrokeshire welcome.

And onlookers at White Lion Corner in Tenby were given an extra surprise as Botham's cricket colleague, Mike Gatting, turned up ahead of the walkers and delighted spectators by chatting and signing autographs.

Affectionately known as 'Gatts' by his team-mates on the challenge, Gatting, who is suffering from a virus and is taking part in the walk as much as possible, even helped to direct the traffic and rattle the collecting buckets with members of Tenby Ladies Circle!

When asked for the recipe for a successful charity walk, Gatting, who had accompanied Botham on his previous charity walk through Tenby in 1994, said it was "having good blokes like Ian and crowds like this."

Sporting a bronze tan, Botham, who is almost as well known for the blisters sustained on his many charity walks as he is for his performances in the Test Match arena, was joined on the last leg of the day by 'PC' - a fun-loving cartoon style character.

'PC' had been in training for the event eating healthy school dinners under the watchful eye of Tenby Junior School teacher, Andrew Williams, and he and his school friends accompanied Botham as he strode through the town on his way to the Leisure Centre where the day's 29.4 mile walk came to a conclusion.

After soaking his feet in ice and undergoing a massage and physio, it was back to the roads of Pembrokeshire on Tuesday morning for Botham, and, although suffering from some blisters, the team were 'cheerful' and in 'good spirits' as they set off from the Leisure Centre to the strains of Tenby Male Choir.

And yet again the day brought good news for the appeal fund, which has already passed its target, when cheques were presented to Botham by various schools and groups, including those given by Tenby Junior School, Heywood Lane Infants School, Lamphey School and Neyland Youth Club and Instep Neyland Dancers.

The generosity of the people of the area was also shown the previous day when chairman of Pembrokeshire County Council, Clr. Mrs. Rosemary Hayes, who is also president of the county's fund-raising committee for the Noah's Ark Appeal, presented Botham with a cheque for a staggering £25,000, which had been collected in the locality.

Also joining Clr. Mrs Hayes to give the walkers a civic send-off on Tuesday was Mayor of Tenby, Clr. Mrs. Christine Brown, and leader of Pembrokeshire County Council, Clr. Maurice Hughes, who thanked Botham and his team, Mike Gatting and the 'unsung heroes' of the party for spending two nights in the county, and wished them continued success with the rest of the challenge.

He also presented Botham and Gatting with county council ties and Botham's wife, Kathy, who along with 23-year-old daughter Sarah is actively involved with the trek, with a scarf and pen to mark their visit to Pembrokeshire.

As the clock struck 9.30 am, Botham, Gatting and their entourage were sent on their way by Wyn Calvin, a founder trustee of the Noah's Ark Appeal, who proudly waved the starting flag.

The walkers, some of whom were carrying Welsh and English flags and wearing red roses to mark St. George's Day, made their way via Clicketts Lane and Heywood Lane - where pupils and staff of Tenby Junior School and Heywood Lane Infants were on hand to cheer and clap the party on - to Serpentine Road, before marching through New Hedges, Saundersfoot and Pentlepoir towards next county on the map, Carmarthenshire.