Former Ipswich policeman begins Captain Tom inspired charity challenge
- Credit: Sarah Lucy Brown
A former Ipswich policeman living with multiple sclerosis (MS) has begun his charity challenge in Felixstowe after being inspired by Captain Sir Tom Moore.
Andy Blacker was diagnosed with the condition 27 years ago and is currently in the secondary progressive stage, with his mobility severely impaired.
However, the Ipswich man has never let his condition bring him down – and is completing the 12-mile walk aided by his walking sticks to raise money for East Anglia's Children's Hospices (EACH) and Suffolk Help in Multiple Sclerosis, of which he is chairman.
Mr Blacker began the three-day challenge on Friday, May 28 – and has already come close to his fundraising goal of £4,000.
Mr Blacker said: "Even during my training, I had people coming over to say hello and to donate money.
"It is great to have already raised so much, but this is all about raising awareness about the condition and the charities.
"I'm really looking forward to it.
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"I know I will do well, but there are always doubts - mostly about blisters!"
Mr Blacker continued to train throughout snowy, windy and wet conditions earlier this year to prepare himself for the challenge – admitting he had suffered several falls.
However, a trip to A&E to remove splinters and thorns from his face was never going to be enough to stop him in his tracks - with Mr Blacker saying he was looking forward to his walks along the promenade.
Issy O’Riordan, EACH Suffolk community fundraiser, added: "Community-minded supporters such as Andy are vital to making sure EACH can continue caring for children and young people with life-threatening conditions, and supporting their families.
"Andy is such a pleasure to work with and his challenge is inspiring. He’s going above and beyond, and his efforts couldn’t be more appreciated."
A team of friends and supporters have set up a table near to the pier over the three days, with fundraisers waiting with buckets for people to donate.
Those who would like to donate to Andy's challenge can do so here.