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Former EADT editor completes gruelling Suffolk coast walk to buy four defibrillators after cardiac arrest ordeal

12 November, 2018 - 13:00
Terry Hunt and Karen Chamberlain enjoy a welcome tea break at Sizewell Hall during their charity walk. Picture: TERRY HUNT

Terry Hunt and Karen Chamberlain enjoy a welcome tea break at Sizewell Hall during their charity walk. Picture: TERRY HUNT

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Former EADT and Star editor Terry Hunt and his sister Karen Chamberlain have just completed a 61-mile walk along the Suffolk coast to raise money to buy life-saving defibrillators.

Beautiful autumnal colours enhance the view across the water to St Botolph's Church at Iken. Picture: TERRY HUNTBeautiful autumnal colours enhance the view across the water to St Botolph's Church at Iken. Picture: TERRY HUNT

Never has a car park been such a welcome sight! We turned the corner, and there was Landguard car park, which marked the end of our four-day walk along the Suffolk coast from Lowestoft to Felixstowe.

My sister Karen and I took up the challenge to raise money to buy defibrillators, after my life was saved when I suffered a cardiac arrest in Ipswich town centre in May.

First and foremost, thank you so much to more than 130 generous people and organisations who supported us. We have now raised more than £6,000, which is enough for four life-saving defibrillators.

The walk itself was really enjoyable. Well, mostly! I saw wonderful parts of Suffolk I had never set eyes on before. On day one, there was stunning Kessingland beach, Benacre broad, and the extraordinary continuing erosion of the cliffs at Covehithe and Easton Bavents.

Erosion at Covehithe seen on Terry Hunt and Karen Chamberlain's walk. Picture: TERRY HUNTErosion at Covehithe seen on Terry Hunt and Karen Chamberlain's walk. Picture: TERRY HUNT

On that first day, we battled from Lowestoft to Southwold along the beach, into a raging head wind. We could see Southwold pier for miles, and for an hour or so I was convinced that I must be walking on the spot, because it didn’t seem to be getting any closer!

On the second day, we walked from Walberswick to Aldeburgh, which included the stunningly remote area between Aldeburgh and Dunwich, as well as Minsmere, and Sizewell.

Probably my favourite part of the walk was the Sailors’ Path, between Aldeburgh and Snape Maltings, on the third day. Just glorious, varied landscape, with glimpses of the river. Our appreciation was helped by the most glorious, spring-like weather. We didn’t feel a single drop of rain for all four days.

For glorious views, Iken takes some beating. As the sun came out later on our third day, the view across the water to St Botolph’s church was simply breathtaking.

Terry Hunt and his sister Karen Chamberlain at Landguard, next to Felixstowe Port - the end of their Suffolk coastal walk. Picture: TERRY HUNTTerry Hunt and his sister Karen Chamberlain at Landguard, next to Felixstowe Port - the end of their Suffolk coastal walk. Picture: TERRY HUNT

Our final day saw us walk from Butley all the way to Landguard. A total of 19 miles, which was the longest hike, and quite a challenge. Pretty much from the start of that day we could see the giant cranes at Felixstowe Port, close to our final destination, They just looked so far away!

That day saw us travel through the wilderness of the marshland at Butley and Boyton. We walked for hours without seeing another human being. There was, however, plenty of wildlife to keep us company.

It was during periods like this that we were able to truly appreciate the stark beauty of the Suffolk coast, well away from the usual ‘hotspots’. I always hoped that the walk would show us some of hidden Suffolk, and it certainly did that.

Haunting Shingle Street marked the halfway point on our final day. Getting there, only to realise that we still had another 10 miles to go certainly wasn’t the high point of the whole adventure!

But eventually we made it to Bawdsey Quay, where I experienced a first ‑ I had never been across the River Deben on the foot ferry before. Thanks so much to the guys for helping us out of season when they don’t usually operate. Very kind.

At Felixstowe Ferry, we made a beeline for the wonderful cafe, where a cheese omelette gave me the perfect comfort food I was craving. Then it was the final five-mile stretch, past the golf club, on to the prom, past the pier and, at last, to our final destination at Landguard.

Karen and I are both proud to say we had no blisters. In fact, I was so delighted that I sent a photo of my definitely battered but totally unblistered feet to my podiatrist. She was pleased!

There are lots of people to thank for making the walk so much fun. Tim and Wendy for sharing part of it. Colin, for tea and biscuits at Sizewell Hall. Katherine and Dick, for a delicious dinner at Orford. A lovely lady called Emma, who came to our rescue when we were horribly lost at Tunstall. My sister Karen, of course, for coming up with the idea in the first place, and providing good-humoured companionship every step of the way. My wife Jane, for moving our luggage from stop to stop.

Also a huge thank you to all the kind people and organisations who have donated money to help us buy more defibrillators. Your generosity has really bowled us over. Your kindness will save lives. Thank you so much.

Now....what shall we tackle next year?

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