A LONG-DISTANCE walker is back home after a 106-mile trek to help a grieving dad.
Brian Baines, 41, relaxed back in Hartlepool after a coast-to-coast yomp from Maryport in Cumbria to the Maritime Experience on behalf of a charity set up by Ian Richardson, 38.
It was emotional and tiring and Brian admitted: “I am shattered. I have got blisters which are unreal. They are the size of an egg.
“But in a strange sort of way, I have enjoyed it all and it has raised money for a brilliant cause.”
As he arrived back in Hartlepool, he revealed he had raised around £1,000 and said he had faced conditions which included atrocious weather as well as aching limbs.
“The people I have met along the way have been fantastic.
“People in Barnard Castle welcomed me in and dried my clothes for me. And there was a group of lads in a car who wound the window down and gave me all their change.
“Another man gave me £20. Lots of people were giving me money.”
Brian also brought back a poignant souvenir of the journey for Ian, who lost his wife Joanne, 40, and daughter Mya, six, in an accident on the A1 in Newcastle in August last year when their car was hit by another which was travelling the wrong way along the road.
Ian and his younger daughter Ava, now aged one, survived the crash and Ian has set up a cause called the Jo and Mya Memorial Trust Fund which aims to support children who have lost loved ones.
Brian chose two stones from the beach in Maryport – one each to represent Joanne and Mya – and had them with him throughout his walk.
He handed them to Ian on his return, and said: “They are his to either put into the sea at Hartlepool, or to put into a box to give to Ava.”
Brian completed a final leg of the journey to Hartlepool on Saturday with Ian and a group of Royal Marines for company.
Ian said: “His achievement is a mammoth one. He has shown massive determination and courage to do it in the face of a lot of adversity.
“The money he has raised will hopefully make a difference to the lives of a lot of people. I can’t change my story, but I can help others.”