SIR Ian Botham was joined by around 100 locals last week as he completed his Big Welsh Walk through Sully and Penarth to help kick-start a £3 million fundraising bid to end cruelty to children in Wales.

The star-studded affair kicked off from the grounds of The Captain’s Wife in Swanbridge on Thursday, and finished six miles later in Cardiff Bay.

Rugby hero Gareth Edwards, and West End star Sophie Evans were among the famous faces that joined in to pound the local coastal path.

The walk – which involved sections in West Wales and Swansea before the final leg – marked the start of a three-year NSPCC Wales Appeal.

Botham, 57, who was awarded a knighthood from the Queen in 2007 for his charitable contributions, said it was a great success.

He said: “Wales is a beautiful country with some wonderful sights.

“I am planning on doing another walk next year and perhaps again the year after.

“The issue is serious and I am more than happy to continue the progress we have made in publicising it”.

NSPCC chairman Sir Stanley Thomas was also among the walkers. He said starting from Swanbridge was the perfect location to start.

“The sea views from Swanbridge to Penarth are magnificent and beautifully picturesque,” he said. “It is easy to see why Sir Ian chose this leg of the journey.”

Peter Wanlass, NSPCC chief executive praised Botham.

He said: “Ninety per cent of the funds we receive are not from the Government. Therefore, raising the public profile of our organisation is imperative and Sir Ian has led the way with this magnificently.”

The Captain’s Wife manager Richard Jones donated the use of the pub facilities, car parking spaces, and tea and coffee to the participants.

“It’s a great cause and we are more than happy to help,” he added.

The money raised will go toward further improving facilities at Diane Engelhardt House in Cardiff.