Squirrel to walk from John O’ Groats

Inspired by two friends, Umberleigh woodsman plans to tackle 1,200 mile trek for Cancer Research UK plus the Somerset & Dorset Air Ambulance.

AN Umberleigh woodsman is gearing up for the charity challenge of a lifetime as he prepares to walk the length of the British Isles in the name of friendship.

Russell Baldwin, known to everyone as “Squirrel”, plans to walk 1,200 miles from John O’ Groats back to North Devon to raise money for Cancer Research UK plus the Somerset and Dorset Air Ambulance.

Two very good friends have inspired Squirrel to make the epic journey. The first, William Rennard, was diagnosed with pancreatic cancer last year and given only a few months to live.

While his friend John Bunce was rescued by the air ambulance following a fall which left him with disabling injuries.

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Squirrel plans to set off from John O’ Groats on May 7, but needs help to get there and is hoping a company or someone in Devon will be able to provide him with a lift to his destination – otherwise he plans to set off a month earlier and hitchhike.

A keen outdoorsman, Squirrel will be “wild camping” along his walk and plans to avoid roads wherever possible, travelling along routes such as the West Highland Way, Offa’s Dyke walk and the Pennine Way.

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“I have always had the notion to do the walk,” he said.

“John was always very fit and never let anything get him down, even now and it pales into insignificance the illnesses we might have.

“Then when my mate Billy told me he had several months left to live, it just spurred me on to do it as a way of showing my friendship. I chose these two charities as they are the ones helping my best friends through an extremely difficult time.”

Squirrel is hoping to average around 16 miles a day on his journey and aims to complete it in around two-and-a-half months – but he still needs help to get there. If you can assist with a lift or sponsorship, call him on 07528 152582. Or donate via www.justgiving.com/Squirrel-Baldwin0.

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