Stathern hospice volunteer completes fourth London to Brighton charity walk

Richard Smailes PHOTO: Supplied
Richard Smailes PHOTO: Supplied
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A man who has compelted a tough 100 kilometre walk from capital to coast, for the fourth time in as many years, says he enjoys each one more than the last.

Richard Smailes, a tearoom volunteer at Dove Cottage Day Hospice in Stathern has completed the London to Brighton Challenge in under 24 hours.

His gruelling May bank holiday hike took him from Richmond, along the River Thames, over the North and South Downs, and through familiar stunning Surrey and Sussex countryside.

The fifty-four-year-old said: “Despite dire warnings of torrential rain in the south of England, we got away with a great show of lightening, but hardly a drop of rain.

“I set off from London’s Richmond Park at 9.30am on Saturday morning (May 26). The morning turned into afternoon and evening and the kilometres disappeared beneath my feet. The mid point rest stop on a farm in Surrey did not come a moment too soon.

“At a time when most sensible people would be settling down to watch Saturday night TV, my co-challengers and I set out into the night, often through deserted forests, stumbling on unseen tree roots and trying not to be freaked out by the strange shadows in the darkness.

“Although the second half was harder going than the first, it seemed to go quicker. I arrived at Brighton Racecourse at 8.15am on Sunday morning (May 27). This meant I was well under the 24 hour target I set myself.”

Richard, who lives in Kinoulton, has raised £350 for Dove Cottage. Over the years he has raised hundreds for this charity he holds dear to his heart.