An interrailing octogenarian has been warmly welcomed back to Norfolk after an epic European odyssey which saw him take 36 trains across nine countries in 22 days.

Malcolm Metcalf, 88, alighted at Great Yarmouth station at the end of the last leg of his three-week voyage, having travelled across the UK, France, Germany, Hungary, Slovakia, Austria, Italy, Slovenia and Croatia.

The former postman and catering worker, from Gorleston, is a veteran of long-distance voyages and has raised thousands of pounds for charity over the years, by giving talks about his travels and taking donations.

He described his latest epic journey - raising funds for the Norwich-based Priscilla Bacon Hospice appeal - as his last such trek.

On arriving at Great Yarmouth station on Saturday afternoon he was greeted by about 20 people including leader of local council Carl Smith.

"The highlight was going through Austria. It was fantastic on the trains there," Mr Metcalf said.

"One of the best things travelling across all these countries is that they have all got lifts that take you to different parts of the station.

"It has been a hectic journey. One that I shall never take again, but I have enjoyed it so much."

Mr Metcalf had originally planned to take just 17 trains during his continental trip, but due to missed trains and other complications he ended up taking 36.

While in Rambouillet in France, which is twinned with Great Yarmouth, Mr Metcalf met Mr Smith, Yarmouth mayor Graham Plant and borough council chief executive Sheila Oxtoby, who were there as part of the 40th anniversary twinning celebrations.

Mr Smith said: "He has been phenomenal. What he has done going around Europe on more than 30 trains is amazing."

Mr Metcalf had been dubbed the 'Michael Palin of Gorleston' for his love of travelling.

He has visited more than 50 countries and once took a 10,000 mile train journey in the US which passed through 29 states and 185 stations on 12 trains in 26 days.

His latest epic journey has seen him raise more than £1,000 for the hospice appeal.

Priscilla Bacon Hospice, the charity raising funds to build a new hospice for Norfolk and Waveney, needs to raise £12.5m and is about £1m short of its target.

The campaign, which has been running for the last four years and is backed by this newspaper, has seen a remarkable level of support from Norfolk and beyond to open the facility next to the Norfolk and Norwich University Hospital site.

To donate, search Malcolm Metcalf's train tour of Europe on the JustGiving website.

Charity boss praise

Hugo Stevenson, head of operations at Priscilla Bacon Lodge, was among those who greeted Malcolm Metcalf at the station.

"Malcolm is remarkable member of the community who has made a tremendous effort travelling around eight countries on 36 trains on 22 days," he said.

"He had to re-route because trains were cancelled and went on twice as many trains as he intended to but he has raised money to help build the facility of Bacon Lodge.

"And with that he is changing the future of palliative care for the county.

"It is so nice having a member of the community doing such an amazing outcome for us.

"We are in the process of raising the final million so every thousand pounds raised is chipping away at our total."