September 20 2014 Latest news:
Monday, July 21, 2014
Former soldier and his feline friends pass through North Devon during their charity challenge onboard and electric mobility scooter.
NORTH Devon was the latest stop for one man and his two cats making charity tour around Britain’s coast on a mobility scooter.
Ex-squaddie Mark Newton, Missy and Smudge crossed the border just over a week ago and have since called in at communities around the region.
So far Mark, 48, his electric three-wheel scooter and the cats have covered around 9,000 miles, with more than £30,000 raised the RNLI, SSAFA, Help for Heroes, 1 The Queens Dragoon Guards and The Royal British Legion.
He set off from Lochgilphead in Scotland in April 2013, having already completed a tour around Wales and is now on the ‘home stretch’ with just Wales and the north west to go!
Yesterday (Sunday) he was in Combe Martin, where he met teenage Help for Heroes patron Lydia Cross and her family from Braunton.
The Swansea man suffered a leg injury in 1991 while serving with the United Nations as a tank crew member in Cyprus, which in recent years left him unable to walk any great distance.
He is spending today (Monday) at Lynton and Lynmouth before going on to Somerset and said he enjoyed his time on the road.
“There is the freedom of it all, but I love the countryside and the wildlife,” he said.
“It’s certainly different – it’s nice some days, okay sometimes and then you get the horrible days when it’s wet and windy and I only get a pound in my bucket.
“The cats are fine – they stay in the back and while I get wet and cold, they stay warm and dry.”
Tucked away in their trailer with food and water, Missy, aged two-and-a-half and Smudge, 10, happily enjoy the attention – as long as no foolish dogs think to take advantage.
“They are my pride and joy,” added Mark, “but Smudge is like an Exocet missile – he will fly out and attack anybody or anything if I raised my voice. He will attack a dog quite happily and he will leave a mess.”
To follow Mark’s adventures, offer accommodation for his future route or to make a donation, go to www.aroundbritain.org.uk