After a fantastic fund raising event on Sunday 31st August at Hemel Hempstead Town Football Club, lifelong friends Paul Gurney and Ben Baldwin embarked on phase 2 of their mission - a walk from Birmingham to London along the towpath of the Grand Union Canal. 145 miles in 5 days!
Paul and Ben commenced the mammoth walk on Fri 12th Sept in central Birmingham and after 9 hours of pounding the towpath and covering the first 28 miles, they arrived at their first Destination – Warwick. After dressing their first blisters, they soon crashed out ready for day 2.
Dawn broke and they set out for day 2 - Warwick to Northampton. However, after a couple of yards it was evident that Paul was unable to walk having turned his ankle mid-way through day 1.
Ben continued on the gruelling task, while Paul went onto Northampton General Hospital to get checked out.
After being ordered to rest for 2 days, Paul then went back to check point 2 to wait for Ben and give him the bad news. Paul was looked after by a friendly couple from New Zealand who were Narrow boating, while poor Ben trudged the towpath yet again!
After both camping in a nearby field, Ben set off for day 3 – Northampton to Milton Keynes, while Paul was rescued by his Wife and taken home to rest in the hope that he could return for the last day.
Ben made his way from Northampton right into the heart of Milton Keynes and was met on the Towpath later that day by Paul who had put his foot ‘on ice’ all day and was ready to go again!
Ben had a welcome rest and respite and both set out again for day 4 – Milton Keynes to Watford!
The day started out well with a dawn start and after passing through their home towns of Leighton Buzzard and Hemel Hempstead, Ben and Paul then trudged their way towards Watford. Day 4 complete!
After a well-earned rest and early night, day 5 began again at dawn and the duo set at to complete their task.
Having reached the half-way point and a left turn towards Paddington, they felt the end was in sight! However, every mile felt like 10 and after 11 gruelling hours, Ben and Paul slumped into Little Venice! Mission complete!!
A great challenge complete and some fantastic funds raised for The Hospice of St Francis.
Both Paul and Ben would like to thank everyone that donated and for the Facebook messages that kept them going:
“We would like to say a huge thank you to Emma Brandon at Tesco at Vimy Road, Leighton Buzzard for sponsoring our food, and to Dave Boggins of Hemel Town FC for the use of the fantastic facilities”
Paul and Ben have raised over £3,000 from funds raised through this challenge and the Charity Football Match that they organised on 31st August 2014.
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