Tackling the long distance Ridgeway Trail usually takes good walkers between five to eight days but Ian Butler from Rodbourne completed it in just four.
He set out on the 139km walk in memory of his step-dad Vladic Obloj, also known as Wally, who died of cancer in March. Wally endured tremendous hardship as a child when he was captured by the Nazis and sent to a work camp in Siberia with his family. They were moved half a dozen times before finally reaching safety in England.
Moving from Fairford, Wally worked for Swindon Borough Council doing a physically demanding job replacing the sewers of the town. He had one surviving child from his first marriage and two step-children with his second wife Lyn. Retiring early due to ill health, he enjoyed gardening, DIY, dancing and spending time with his four grandchildren.
His final months were made as comfortable as possible by the Prospect Hospice. As a thank you, Ian wanted to raise as much money as possible for the hospice@home appeal. He was joined by Scott Phillips, right with Ian, who jumped at the challenge of honouring Wally, who he greatly admired.
A keen mountain biker, Scott completing the Three Peaks Challenge last year, so preparing for the walk wasn’t too daunting for him. Ian has less experience of this type of challenge but decided to get in shape by giving up driving to work. After 8 months of walking to work, he lost over 5 stones.
The duo needed to be physically prepared to be able to maintain an average speed of 3.5 to 4 miles per hour, with the added challenge of carrying all their camping equipment.
To read more about the walk or to make a donation, visit www.walkforwally.com