Ian Wainwright (30) from Cheddington, Bucks, has completed a challenge to walk from Land’s End to John O’Groats in memory of his grandfather and succeeded in raising £4,960 for Rennie Grove Peace Hospice Care along the way.
His decision to take on the epic walk comes after our nurses visited and cared for his grandfather in his own home before he died last December. Beginning on 1st May in Land’s End, he reached John O’Groats on 26th July after 77 days of walking and racking up an impressive total distance of 1,260 miles and 3.5 million steps along the way.
Ian says: “I started walking during lockdown and was keen to take on a big challenge in memory of my grandad . Walking took a backseat when he was ill but after he died, it seemed right to take on a charity challenge in his memory.
“My grandad was active all his life, even doing press ups at the age of 90! The challenge of walking from Land’s End to John O’Groats was a fitting way to honour him while fundraising for the charity that cared for him towards the end of his life.”
Along the way, Ian climbed Ben Nevis and completed the Cotswold Way; Pennine Way; West Highland Way; Great Glen Way, and the John O’Groats trail, getting through three pairs of boots.
On completing the challenge, Ian said:
“I’m still trying to process it all. I’ve had such amazing adventures and have been able to raise £4,750 for Rennie Grove Peace Hospice Care in memory of my Grandad and I’m still getting donations!
“People were so kind the whole way. After being turned away from a campsite, a kindly farmer’s daughter let me use her father’s field and brought me tea. Campsites and cafes across Britain refused to take my money, telling me to make a donation instead. A shopkeeper in Scotland handed me a pie. Passers-by asked what I was doing and donated to Rennie Grove Peace on the spot.
“I also learned a lot about myself. I had amazing support from friends and family, travelling huge distances to join me, meeting me for dinner or offering their homes to me, but I spent a lot of time alone. You walk two walks when you walk long distances. There’s the walk in your mind and the actual walk. I started the journey listening to a lot of music, but by the end I was content to just exist with my own thoughts. I asked a lot of my body and it responded. I lost around 10kg along the way, despite eating over 4000 calories a day. I learnt how to quiet the little voice in my head that moaned about being exhausted and wanted to stop.
“I was also able to visit my Grandad’s old house in Derbyshire where I remember him and Gran living when I was growing up. I also visited my other Grandparents’ house in Bath. That whole generation is gone now, and this felt like saying goodbye.
“The weather was beautiful throughout England, but when I crossed the border, I had near constant rain until the very last week. My final day was particularly beautiful, with Duncansby Head, the most North Eastern point on England, looking beautiful. My journey took me there first, then I walked back inland to finish in John O’Groats.”
Tracey Hancock, Director of Fundraising at Rennie Grove Peace Hospice Care said:
“We’re so grateful to Ian for all his support and for taking on such a physical challenge. Ian’s Grandfather was looked after by our Community Hospice at Home team, a service which focuses on the care that an individual patient needs in the community, often in their own home surrounded by the people and things that matter most to them. As a charity, the majority of our funding comes from donations and the generous support of our local community, so fundraising challenges like Ian’s help make a real difference to our ability to support more local patients and those who care for them.”
To donate to Ian’s challenge, visit: https://www.justgiving.com/page/wainwrightwalksgb