Man to trek length of Britain twice

FOUR months of sleeping in a tent, countless blisters and boots full of blood - but its all for a good cause.This is what pensioner Roger Betts has to look forward to when he embarks on an epic trek to raise £24,000 for the British Heart Foundation.

FOUR months of sleeping in a tent, countless blisters and boots full of blood - but its all for a good cause.

This is what pensioner Roger Betts has to look forward to when he embarks on an epic trek to raise £24,000 for the British Heart Foundation.

Mr Betts, 60, of Bridgewater Road, Chantry, Ipswich, is walking more than 2,400 miles from Land's End to John O'Groats and back again, via public footpaths by himself.

The intrepid charity fundraiser has already done the journey one-way by road but this less traditional route will take him over hills and along canal towpaths, meaning it will take four months in total as he plans to walk the equivalent of a marathon every day.


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The last time he found the walk exhausting and at one point stopped to find his walking boots full of blood from sores.

Serial fundraiser, Mr Betts, who is now retired, said: “I will be carrying everything on my back and sleeping in a tent every night and cooking food on the camp stove. It will be tough and that's why I have already started training.

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“I am most afraid of letting people down.

“I think it will take about four months but it could be longer if I get lost or the weather is bad. I'm a member of the Campsite Association so hopefully I will be able to pitch my tent in various sites along the way.

“I hadn't done something like this for a while and so I was getting itchy feet. My wife knew I would have to go off again - she is used to it now.”

He is building up to walking 50 miles a day as he plans to walk 30 miles a day for the actual trek. He is due to set off from Land's End in Penzance in May 2008 and hopes to return in December 2008, but admitted it could take longer if he gets lost or the weather holds him up.

His pledge to raise so much for the charity comes from his experience as a first aid instructor as it was there that he realised how many times the emergency cardiac teams were needed.

The Royal Mail former employee has helped to raise thousands of pounds for charity in the past as he regularly encouraged colleagues to participate in fundraising events, including the London to Brighton sponsored cycle.

He is now appealing for businesses to donate items that he can auction off as pledges.

To sponsor him, go to the BHF website, www.bhf.org.uk, then click on donations and sponsor a friend and search for Roger Betts, or to contribute to the auction, call him on 01473 403900.

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

Mr Betts has cycled 4,500 miles across Europe, leaving from Harwich, and on to countries like Holland and Sweden.

He walked from Land's End to John O'Groats one-way via road.

He has done the London to Brighton sponsored cycle.

In 2001 he cycled 2,400 miles, leaving from Ipswich to Land's End, up to John O'Groats and back to Ipswich again, to raise money for the East Anglian Air Ambulance

He has completed a 500-mile cycle around East Anglia to raise money for a child with Cerebral Palsy.

England cricket legend Sir Ian Botham was knighted after his fundraising efforts for Leukaemia Research.

In October 2006, Sir Ian completed his long distance fundraising walk through 17 cities in just nine days. Sir Ian, who averaged 4.5 miles an hour, also covered the equivalent of a marathon every day. This fundraising effort raised more than half a million pounds.

It would take roughly 16 hours to drive from Land's End to John O'Groats.

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