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Last Updated: Friday, 12 September, 2003, 13:27 GMT 14:27 UK
Nut reaches Downing Street
Mark McGowan at 10 Downing Street
Mark McGowan reaches 10 Downing Street
A performance artist trying to wipe out his student debt by using his nose to roll a monkey nut across London has arrived at Downing Street.

Crawling on his hands and knees, Mark McGowan nudged the nut over a kerb and up the steps to the famous black door of Number 10.

He began his journey on 1 September at Goldsmiths College in New Cross, south-east London.

Each day he covered about three-quarters of a mile in about eight hours.

During his journey, the 37-year-old from Peckham, south-east London, has encountered abusive people, curious children, wide cracks in the pavement and busy roads.

Mr McGowan delivered the nut and a letter, which asks Prime Minister Tony Blair to accept the nut as payment for his student debt, to Number 10 on Friday.

There was hair and spit and bird poo. There were unmentionable things
Mark McGowan

He said: "I'm a bit tired. I'm a bit emotional that it's all over. I'm going to have a bath now.

"It's been a long two weeks. Sometimes I thought I was going to give up. It was really hard. My knee caps are in a terrible state."

Mr McGowan also described his journey, saying: "The streets were dirty. There was hair and spit and bird poo. There were unmentionable things."

He had written to both Mr Blair and Education Secretary Charles Clarke about his protest and had asked them to waive his debts.

But Mr Blair's office referred him to the Department for Education and Skills which, Mr McGowan said, informed him its spending limits had already been set for the year.

It is the latest in a series of protests by McGowan which have included rolling across London to promote kindness to cleaners and walking backwards with a turkey on his head to fight obesity.

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12 Sep 03  |  Education
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