Hero's welcome for charity hiker

LONG-distance walker Mark Sargeantson has been given a hero's welcome after completing a 560-mile hike for charity.

LONG-distance walker Mark Sargeantson has been given a hero's welcome after completing a 560-mile hike for charity.

But the Ipswich businessman admitted he was now looking forward to escaping from the limelight after his marathon trek received a great deal of media coverage - and putting his feet up!

Mr Sargeantson, the 55-year-old chairman of Ipswich Building Society, took 50 days to complete the 560-mile route from the Atlantic to the Mediterranean across the Pyrenees.

He took on the challenge to raise funds in memory of his close friend Dr John LeVay, founder trustee of the Cancer Campaign in Suffolk.

The amount raised, which so far tops £15,000, will go towards a £250,000 mobile cancer information unit which will spread the word about cancer throughout Suffolk.

The 55-year-old's walk was well-documented in the media and he said this put added pressure on him to complete the challenge.

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Mr Sargeantson of Kettleburgh, near Framlingham said: ''I would never say never again, but I do not think I would attempt to do such a high profile sort of event again.

''It was very good to get all the publicity and to raise awareness of the charity but it did put an added level of pressure on me which can be quite intense.”

This was primarily a solo challenge, although he was joined for several days by friends.

His achievement was celebrated by a homecoming party at the Seckford Theatre, Woodbridge School, attended by his family, friends and sponsors.

He had endured rain, fog, snow and sun and climbed a total of 164,636 feet - five times the height of Mount Everest.

Gina Cooper, of Cancer Campaign in Suffolk, said: ''Mark did 10 miles a day for 50 days and that is just such an amazing achievement and for us to benefit from this is very humbling.'

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