A FORMER St Cyres pupil has raised more than £1,700 for charity by walking the length of Wales in just five days.
Andy Naylor, 33, and his friend Phil Stubbs, 32, started their gruelling challenge at 4.30am on Monday morning, July 21, and finished just before 7.30pm on Friday night, July 25.
Their walk took them from Prestatyn Pier in North Wales, down the Offas Dyke path towards Knighton before following the Taff Trail from Brecon to Cardiff bay and then over the barrage to Penarth Pier.
The walk was in memory of Andy’s Mum Ann, who died in 2008. The money they have raised will go to Brynawel Rehabilitation centre in Llanharran, where Ann spent six months battling an addiction to alcohol.
“I have been raising money for Brynawel since my Mum died and really wanted to do something special for them as they were so good to her,” said Andy.
“Walking the length of Wales seemed like a fitting challenge and I always wanted to finish on the pier at Penarth as my Mum was always happiest when she was near the sea and had lived the majority of her life here.”
Andy and Phil had been in training for the walk but soon found that the unforgiving terrain of North Wales was going to make it a very difficult challenge.
“I knew it was going to be difficult but was still shocked by how exhausted I felt at the end of the first day. Some of the scenery and views we saw were incredible but at the time it was just a case of putting one foot in front of the other and hoping we could keep going.”
The lads were accompanied by Andy’s father David who followed their route on the road in a camper van.
“Being able to meet up with my Dad at the end of a hard days walk was fantastic,” said Andy.
“We were so tired that we barely had the energy to take our boots off and eat before trying to get a few hours sleep. Our alarms were set for four in the morning and we walked until ten in the evening on the first two days.”
The walk saw Andy and Phil cover more than thirty miles a day in temperatures as high as thirty degrees. They met Andy’s friend Ben Russon in Brecon who walked most of the Taff Trail with them.
“Being able to meet with Ben was such a boost. I have known him since I was eleven years old and was not surprised when at the end of a gruelling day of walking he told me he would see me at 5am the next morning to continue the walk. He was fantastic and I can’t thank him enough for his support.”
The walkers were met at Penarth Pier on Friday by a group of Andy’s family and friends, some of whom joined in with the last leg of the walk from Castell Coch to Penarth.
“The support and generosity of family, friends and strangers has blown me away,” said Andy.
“The donations have just kept coming and the staff at Brynawel are over the moon with how much we have been able to raise. Addiction is an unfashionable subject and Brynawel do not receive nearly enough funding for the incredible work they do. Day in, day out they are changing people’s lives and giving them the strength to carry on. It is not just the person who is addicted to alcohol that suffers it is their family as well and Brynawel do everything they can to help anyone who has been affected by alcohol or substance abuse. “
Andy is hoping to visit Brynawel soon to officially present them with the money that has been raised.
“I am delighted with how well things have gone and just want to say thank you to everyone who has donated. I know my Mum would have loved to have seen how many of her friends and family have contributed to a fund in her memory.”
You can donate to Andy’s fund at www.Justgiving.com/WalkWales2014