Powys couple take on mammoth walking challenge for charity

A couple from Powys are taking on a John O'Groats to Land's End challenge to raise money for charity.

Steve and Juliet Gibbon, with their dog, Poppy
Steve and Juliet Gibbon, with their dog, Poppy

Steve and Juliet Gibbon, who live near Knighton, will be setting out on May 10 to walk in relay accompanied by their dog, Poppy, a total distance of 1,360 miles.

Steve is the secretary and a founding member of Read Easy Shropshire Hills, a charity that helps people learn how to read who may have missed out earlier in life.

In normal times, the charity would have held a number of fundraisers over the past year, but due to the pandemic they haven't been able to.

The pair will be raising money for Read Easy Shropshire Hills and two other charities that have struggled.

One of the charities is Royal Agricultural Benevolent Institution (RABI), which supports farming families in crisis, and which Juliet volunteers for.

Juliet's connection with farming began when she was a member of Young Farmers and has always had an affinity with the farming way of life.

She said: "Many farms exist on a knife edge and farm incomes are often precarious. In the past year pressures on farmers have increased because of Brexit and the pandemic and farmers have increasingly been turning to RABI for help."

Journey

The pair are also raising money for Children in Need – a charity that provided much needed support to Steve and Juliet at a time when their son, Nick, was going through life changing surgery and learning to live with a prosthetic leg.

They will pass through Inverness, Aviemore, Fort William, Glasgow, Carlisle, Lancaster, Liverpool, Shrewsbury, Worcester, Bristol, Wells, Salcombe, and Plymouth before reaching Land's End in mid-August.

Steve said: "Our organisation, Read Easy Shropshire Hills, has carried on coaching over the last year and several coaches and their readers quickly adapted to remote working. However coaching on Zoom requires each coach and reader to have their own resources, so our coaching costs have increased.

"Unfortunately, some of our coaching venues have sadly closed or may not be able to offer suitable accommodation in the future. If you know of venues such as cafes, offices, pubs and shops, who may be able to provide a quiet area where readers and coaches can meet, please let us know.

"We are always looking to attract new readers. If you know anyone who struggles with reading and is interested in finding out more about our free and confidential service they can get in touch by calling Amana on 07707 762653, or email her at shcoordinator@readeasy.org.uk."

Steve and Juliet's walk starts at John O'Groats on May 10 and will they will follow national trails and minor roads on their journey.

You can follow their journey on the Shropshire Hills Facebook page and keep up with all Read Easy news. To donate visit www.justgiving.com/crowdfunding/steve-and-juliet-walk-to-lands-end.

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