Acclaimed dramatic poet, Philip Wells, aka The Fire Poet, has been bravely walking barefoot across the UK for the past thirteen weeks, and is now on the verge of competing his incredible journey. He has currently completed 775 miles, so the end is in sight for the poet who has already done so much without any footwear!
The Barefoot Billion walk began on April 22nd at St Michael’s Mount in Cornwall and will come to an end on Saturday August 9 that 3pm when Philip will walk across the Menai Bridge into Angelsey to complete this extraordinary challenge. Not only will this represent a huge personal achievement, Philip is on course to smash the previous world record of 925 barefoot miles.
Philip has been raising awareness and funds for children all over the world who are forced to walk without shoes every day due to poverty and deprivation. This record-breaking journey will benefit three charities: The Born Free Foundation, the Consortium for Street Children, and Ocean Stars Trust.
He said: “Despite the blisters and sores, the support and enthusiasm I have received from the great British public has helped me every step of the way. People have been sending in ‘foot selfies’ and generously donating as I walk.
In spite of the challenges – I’ve stepped on two snakes, a 3 inch thorn, been blown over and chased by a stallion - I am determined to continue and raise awareness for the children who suffer every day of their lives. I hope my poetry recitals along the route have brought colour to the journey and inspired people as well.”
Philip’s incredible journey has also gained online support from some well known names including Stephen Fry, Bear Grylls, Sir John Major. Others have walked some of the journey with him, including TV historian Bettany Hughes, The Times art critic Rachel Campbell Johnson, CEO of Born Free Will Travers and may others.
Following in the footsteps of Bards, Romans, Neolithic dreamers and according to the legend, Christ himself, Philip’s route has incorporated some of the UK’s best known landmarks. He has performed in 11 schools and numerous community spaces, enabling him to deliver thought-provoking poetry for members of the public along his route.
He has also performed in places of worship including Tintern Abbey, where he recited poetry with legendary actress and conservationist Virginia McKenna OBE for the gathered crowds.
Anyone wishing to show their support for this unique challenge can find out more about the route at: www.barefootbillion.com or make a donation online by visiting: http://uk.virginmoneygiving.com/team/barefootbillion.com or by texting ‘STEP’ to 70111 to donate £3.
You can also follow the Barefoot Billion team on Facebook and Twitter for live updates - #BetheSTEP.
Report and picture contributed by the Born Free Foundation.