Ipswich man in hike challenge

ARMED only with a sleeping bag, a change of clothes and a hearty helping of determination, Ipswich man Steve Miller is today preparing for the hike of his life.

ARMED only with a sleeping bag, a change of clothes and a hearty helping of determination, Ipswich man Steve Miller is today preparing for the hike of his life.

The 43-year-old has taken on the ambitious, if unenviable, challenge of trekking from Suffolk to the northern most tip of Scotland in aid of St Elizabeth Hospice, the Macmillan Cancer Support and the RNLI.

He expects the journey - dubbed Steve Aid - to take him 12 weeks, although his not-very-tight schedule has already taken one knock - after a chum bumped into him and whisked him off for lunch and a pint in Sproughton.

He said: “I was distracted by an old friend who wanted to wish me well so he took me for a bite to eat at The Wild Man.”

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Mr Miller has not taken a holiday in a decade so decided to combine a vacation with a charity drive.

He said: “I wanted to stay in Britain, a bit like Gordon Brown, and I have never been to Scotland before.

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“I was going to go earlier in the year by train but then I thought 'why don't I do it to help other people and make a long journey out of it by walking?'

“St Elizabeth Hospice and Macmillan are charities which are close to my heart because I lost my mother to cancer as well as other close friends.”

Mr Miller, who reckons he has already raised “quite a bit”, has set himself a target of collecting more than £10,000.

Despite, the 700 miles he will have to tread to reach the Scottish highlands, he has opted against undertaking any training because he already walks regularly.

The horticulturist, of Old Foundry Road, said: “I walk or cycle everywhere and I'm extremely fit so I don't need to train. I'm not someone who sits at a desk all day.

“I expect it will take me about 12 weeks although I may want to make a few detours along the way if I want to see a few towns and cities, or climb a few mountains in Scotland.”

He has decided not to take a tent to protect himself from the elements because it would be too heavy, so he will instead sleep wherever he can.

He added: “I'm taking my sleeping bag but every few days I shall get a room in a bed and breakfast so I can enjoy the home comforts of clean sheets and a shower.”

He plans to head to King's Lynn before making his way up the east coast through Lincoln and York.

He has walked all over Europe and South East Asia, and claimed the task of trekking to Scotland paled into insignificance compared to a climb over the Pyrenees.

“My biggest challenge was climbing over the Pyrenees into Andorra while being attacked by vultures,” he said.

“That was much tougher than this.”

To sponsor Steve, send cheques made payable to one of the three charities he is supporting to 16 Old Foundry Road, Ipswich, IP4 2AS.

Are you undertaking a charity challenge with a difference? Write to Your Letters, Evening Star, 30 Lower Brook Street, Ipswich, IP4 1AN or e-mail eveningstarletters@eveningstar.co.uk

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