Hartlepool friends go all the way for these veterans' charities
An interpid group of friends are on course to have raised thousands of pounds for veterans’ charities after walking over 100 miles.
The fifth annual Hartlepool Coast to Coast Challenge started by former servicemen Stephen Shearer and pal Kevin Robson came to a successful end at the weekend.
The group of eight friends walked through torrential rain and hot conditions over 125 miles along a route which followed Hadrian’s Wall.
They were joined by a couple more supporters along the way.
The walkers, all from Hartlepool and the Tees Valley, are set to have raised about £4,000 from the four-day challenge and will bring the total raised since 2015 to close to £30,000 for veterans causes.
Stephen, who served in the Royal Engineers, said: “It went well. We had a couple of injuries along the line and very bad weather on our first day.
“Then on the second day, which is the hardest, the heat was a big factor. Then there was torrential rain on Saturday.”
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The group set off early on Wednesday, June 5, from Bowness on Solway in Cumbria and headed along the 84 miles of Hadrian’s Wall track to Wallsend.
They then crossed the River Tyne and walked down the South Shields coastline, past Sunderland by way of the Durham Heritage pathway.
They came into Hartlepool along the Hart to Haswell walkway, which was flooded in parts on Saturday, and were welcomed home by friends and family at Rovers Rugby Club.
The celebrations continued into the night to live music and some much needed refreshments.
Since Stephen and Kevin began the annual walk it has raised over £23,500 for veterans charities.
Proceeds from this year are going to BLESMA, a non-profit charity supporting limbless veterans, Changing Step (North East) which provides valuable support when people leave the services, and homelessness charity Soldiers off the Streets.
Stephen added: “I think support is needed even more so. We know of veterans who are going through difficult times. They are worthwhile charities to support.”