Former soldier hiking 360 miles across UK after being told he may not walk again
A former soldier who was told he was unlikely to walk again following a car crash is hiking 360 miles across England and Wales for charity.
Brian Edwards, known as Eddy, set off from St David’s Head in Pembrokeshire on Saturday and aims to reach Ness Point in Lowestoft in 10 days.
He is taking on the challenge completely unaided, carrying his equipment including a one-man tent to sleep in on his back.
The 68-year-old has brought porridge for his breakfast each morning, as well as two treats, a bottle of whisky and a hot water bottle.
Mr Edwards, from Colchester, Essex, served as a warrant officer class one in the British Army for 23 years before becoming a police officer.
In 1997, he was involved in a serious car accident on the A12 in Essex and doctors told him he was unlikely to walk again due to the number of breaks in both of his legs.
He also broke his arm and shoulder but was determined to get back on his feet after being told that he would need to be medically discharged from the police.
It took him three years to learn how to walk again and he made a full recovery, eventually enjoying a 20-year career as a frontline police officer.
Mr Edwards is now taking on the coast-to-coast challenge in aid of the charity Help For Heroes.
“I was lucky to make a full recovery after my accident but some service personnel have not been so fortunate while serving the country both home and abroad,” he said.
“I know first hand the impact that injury can have both on them, and those around them.
“Now, they and their families badly need our support.
“Help For Heroes does great work and deserve all the money that I hope to raise for them.”
Mr Edwards will be traversing at the widest point of the UK and hopes to average 35 miles per day, depending on how affected he is by compound fatigue.
In the past, he has cycled from Land’s End to John O’Groats in nine days, ran a relay from John O’Groats to Colchester and cycled the coast to coast route in four days last year.
“While I’ve still got my health I will always want to keep on doing challenges like this and if they can raise money for charity at the same time that’s even better,” Mr Edwards added.
David Martin, head of supporter fundraising at Help For Heroes, described people like Mr Edwards as the “lifeblood” of the charity.
“We know from research that there has been a big increase in veterans telling us that they aren’t managing their mental and physical health so well since the start of the pandemic, so the need for support is greater than ever, but we’re also having to manage a 40% drop in income at the same time,” Mr Martin said.
“People like Eddy, doing amazing fundraising events like this, truly are the lifeblood of the charity.”
The fundraising page can be found here: https://www.justgiving.com/fundraising/brian-edwards10.