With a round of applause and shouts of “Good Luck” ringing in his ears ex-soldier Steve Brandrick set off from Walsall Manor Hospital this morning on his 124 mile charity walk to London.
The father-of-two is “tabbing” – a military term for walking at a fast pace with a weighted rucksack – to Guys Hospital before laying a wreath at the Cenotaph in Whitehall.
He is raising cash for NHS Charities and the Royal Signals Charity. The former 22 Signal Regiment Corporal was a radio relay operator who has completed a number of weekend challenges during the Covid-19 pandemic, raising money for the NHS following the death of his uncle during the pandemic. And Walsall Manor Hospital has a special place in his heart as he was born here 52 years ago and his granddaughter Evie-May was born here five months ago.
“I want to get to London in less than 30 hours ideally but will definitely make it one way or another,” said Steve who lives in Cannock and has been doing a series of military challenges.
“The hardest part is doing this challenge on concrete along the pavements and pathways between here and London as it takes its toll on my knees! It’s far easier to cover the distance on grass. I tend to break the challenges down in my mind so I’ll be thinking of this one in terms of every ten miles. The really great thing is all the messages I’ve received over the last few months with people telling me they’ve been motivated to become more active themselves – it’s fantastic to think that others have felt inspired and that in turn helps me to keep going.”
Steve was sent on his way today by Capt Stuart Welton, from Steve’s ex-Regiment (22 Signals) motorcyclists from the Royal Signals veterans’ association, his wife Michaela and family – including little Evie-May.
Walsall Healthcare Fundraising Manager Georgie Westley said: “It was lovely to meet Steve, his family and supporters today and we wish him all the best on his walk.
“We were concerned that the weather forecast isn’t too good today but Steve assured us he’d rather walk in rain than in the heat as there’s less risk of dehydration. We have no doubt that he will complete his challenge and thank him for his NHS support.”
To support his efforts go to his just giving page www.justgiving.com/Stephen-Brandrick2 or https://uk.virginmoneygiving.com/StephenBrandrick/5