Hartlepool friends to go to great lengths for veterans

Coast 2 Coast walkers for veterans charities. Left to right: Anne Abbey (support), Nige Carr, Russ Welsh, Sean Allison, Stephen Shearer , Kev Robson, Deb Robson (support).
Coast 2 Coast walkers for veterans charities. Left to right: Anne Abbey (support), Nige Carr, Russ Welsh, Sean Allison, Stephen Shearer , Kev Robson, Deb Robson (support).

A group of friends will go to great lengths to raise cash and awareness for armed forces charities – 134 miles to be exact.

The team of six walkers are getting ready to put their best foot forward in a Coast to Coast challenge from Workington in Cumbria to Hartlepool.

They include three armed forces veterans including Russ Welsh, from Seaton Carew, a former RAF firefighter who lost his sight through a rare genetic condition.

Setting off in two weeks time, the team are raising money for three forces veterans charities – Soldiers off the Streets, Save Our Soldier, and Belsma which supports limbless servicemen and women.

Russ, 49, a dad of three, said: “This will be the fourth walk that was started by Kev Robson and Stephen Shearer who both served in the armed forces.

“The idea is to raise money and awareness for some armed forces charities.

“I happened to mention I quite fancied doing it and they said ‘why don’t you?’

“I said it would probably be as much of a challenge for them with my sight to get through 135 miles and they said ‘we will give it a go’.”

Russ has only 2%-3% vision after he was diagnosed with choroideremia in 1994, and has been slowly losing his sight ever since.

He likened his vision now to looking through a pinhole camera through frosted glass.

Joining Russ, Kev and Stephen on this year’s walk is Nigel Carr, Sean Allison and Graham Dale with Anne Abbey and Deb Robson providing valuable support.

They have all been friends for a while through Hartlepool’s scooter scene.

Russ added: “I’m looking forward to it but it is going to be a challenge.

“I have done a few runs before but have never walked anywhere near that distance.

“The coast to coast route can also be a bit treacherous in places.”

The team are due to set off from Workington on Wednesday, June 20.

The route will take them through the Lake District, over the North Pennines and through the County Durham countryside.

People are invited to welcome them when they arrive back at Hartlepool Rovers Rugby Club on Saturday, June 23, where there will be bands, DJs and raffles.

The team have set up an online fundraising page.

To donate and find out more go to the Facebook page Hartlepool C2C Challenge 2018.