Kind strangers keep Horsham man going

Simon Bacon
Simon Bacon

The support from strangers has kept one Horsham man going during a gruelling two month challenge battling the elements, loneliness and blisters all for charity.

Simon Bacon from Wood End, Horsham, will arrive in Lands End, Cornwall, on Saturday, May 26 after setting off from John O’ Groats in Scotland on March 23 for a trek of an estimated 1000 miles across the country for Cancer Research UK.

“The support I’ve had from family, friends and work colleagues has been brilliant but I’ve had so much support from complete strangers along the way,” explained Simon, who has been a firefighter for 13 years, currently in Reigate.

“At least a few hundred of those pounds donated have been from people that don’t even know me.

“I stopped in a cafe for lunch and after seeing the Cancer Research logo on my rucksack, a woman who herself had suffered from cancer spoke to me for no longer than five minutes and gave me £10 - it’s incredible.”

Simon has walked an average of 17 miles a day alone in all weathers while carrying cooking equipment, gas, clothes and a tent on his back totalling a weight of between 15 and 18 kilos.

He also spent his 40th birthday in Coventry joined by friends and family on May 5 - a milestone he used as one motivation behind the charity challenge.

He said: “It was my 40th and I wanted to do something memorable.

“I have lived a pretty cracking life and touch wood I’ve never had any sort of illness so it’s an opportunity to pay my dues, raise some money and show my gratitude for the work being done by Cancer Research helping people close to me affected and enabling some to still be here.”

Proud wife Alison, 40, explained that Simon had been planning the event for around a year researching, buying a treadmill and walking through Horsham in preparation.

She said: “He’s a good planner so he also had it all written out where he was going to be staying, the mileage, how long it would take and all the best routes.

“He also trained with weights on his back for three hours a day to strengthen it for carrying his load. I do not know how he’s done it.”

With two weeks to go, Alison visited Simon in Nunney, Somerset on May 13 and took the tent to relieve some pressure on her determined husband. Simon has been staying in bed and breakfasts, fully funded by himself since.

“He did loads of overtime last year so that all the money he raised went into the cancer fund,” added Alison.

“He’s an amazingly positive person so I’ve found it difficult to watch him struggle at times because that meant I knew it was really hard.

“I can’t even describe how proud of him I am.”

The trek has so far raised more than £5,000, smashing his target by more than £2,000.

Simon continued: “The donation site asks you for a target and I plucked £3,000 out of the air so to be as far over as I am is amazing.

“They say be careful what you wish for because I wanted something to challenge myself and it’s done it exactly that and in more ways than I initially imagined,” he confessed.

“Without a doubt meeting amazing people on this trip and being visited by friends and family made all the tougher days much easier and it’s definitely helped me get as far as I’ve got.

“Nothing is going to stop me getting to the finish now.”

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