Cambridge dad on 11k mile hike for Children in Need treks into Blackpool

A rambler on an 11,000 mile journey around the coast of Britain braved the rain and trekked into the heart of Blackpool today.

Thursday, 20th May 2021, 3:45 pm
Chris Howard

Chris Howard, 36, from Cambridge, set off from Norfolk in March last year with little more than the clothes on his back. Since then he has been slowly travelling clockwise around the coast, camping in fields overnight and walking at least 30 miles every day, all to raise money for Children in Need.

He has already raised £24,000, and hopes to double that by the time his journey comes to an end.

He said: “When lockdown began, I was left thinking how difficult it must be for children living in poverty. My children are lucky enough to have a good home and a loving family, but not every child can be that lucky.

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Chris camping out

“I have previously done a fair amount of endurance challenges, from marathons to cycling. I’ve rowed across the Atlantic and did the Tour De France, so I’m no stranger to pushing my body. Physically it can be tough, but mostly I get lonely. I can go for weeks without talking to anybody. It's quite hard, so it’s good when someone does strike up a conversation or wave or smile.”

Lockdown threw a spanner in the works for Chris, a dad of three, as he was forced to abandon his trek for four months due to restrictions in Wales. However, he still hopes to complete the challenge by November, when Children in Need will celebrate its 41st birthday.

The charity's annual appeal, supporting more than 3,900 local charities and projects in communities across the UK, is scheduled to air on BBC One on Friday, November 13.

He said: “I didn’t think people would be interested in the beginning. I set a target of £10k and smashed that within a few months, so I doubled it. Now I’m hoping to double it again.

"It has been a challenge to do this during lockdown. I could have spent my nights couch-surfing, but I've had to camp out instead because of the restrictions - which was especially difficult in Wales!"

After visiting Blackpool for the very first time today, he will head north to Fleetwood, and walk around the Wyre Estuary to Knott End.

People can keep up with his country-wide journey on his website, www.thecoastwalker.com.