Sunderland YMCA take on gruelling walk for Help for Heroes

Wayne Foster of Walks in Support of Help for Heroes (3rd left) who teamed up Sunderland Y.M.C.A. that took part in a walk from the Memorial Wall, Mowbary Park, Sunderland to South Shields and back on Monday.
Wayne Foster of Walks in Support of Help for Heroes (3rd left) who teamed up Sunderland Y.M.C.A. that took part in a walk from the Memorial Wall, Mowbary Park, Sunderland to South Shields and back on Monday.
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DETERMINED fund-raisers took on a gruelling walk to raise funds for Help for Heroes.

Wayne Foster, from Lakeside Village, is a former TA Soldier and a Co-Founder of Walks In Support of Help for Heroes, who organize walks all over the UK to raise cash for the charity.

Wayne Foster of Walks in Support of Help for Heroes ("nd row, centre) who teamed up Sunderland Y.M.C.A. that took part in a walk from the Memorial Wall, Mowbary Park, Sunderland to South Shields and back on Monday.

Wayne Foster of Walks in Support of Help for Heroes ("nd row, centre) who teamed up Sunderland Y.M.C.A. that took part in a walk from the Memorial Wall, Mowbary Park, Sunderland to South Shields and back on Monday.

The 39-year-old teamed up with Sunderland YMCA to walk the 18 miles from the Memorial Wall in Mowbray Park to South Shields Pier and back, raising £459.73.

“It was absolutely wonderful,” he said.

“The day was great, the weather was fine and the support we had was brilliant.”

“We had a young lad called Leon from Academy 360 who had never done a charity walk before.

“He did it with a weighted rucksack and at the end I joked we should do it all again and he said he would.

“When we got to Shields a young lady called Marian had two very bad blisters on her feet that were bleeding.

“I said that she shouldn’t really walk in that condition, but she said that we were doing was for people who don’t even have limbs so she walked all the way back with just her socks on.

“It was really inspirational,” said Wayne.

Marian Douglas, from Hendon, got involved through a friend who works at the YMCA.

The 24-year-old, who works for William Hill, said: “I just think that these service people come back worse off than us, and if they suffer for us so what’s a few blisters and a bit of pain, it’s not really anything to complain about.

“It’s a good cause and every bit of support helps them.”

Wayne founded the group two years ago with his friend, and former corporal, Oliver Mitchel.

The pair served together in the TA. After leaving they decided they wanted to raise money for the servicemen and women injured while serving their country.

Wayne said: “We wanted to do something for Help For Heroes.

“We did one walk but then decided to do more and more and the group formed from there.”

He now trains by walking up to 20 miles a day to ensure he stays in shape and ready for his next walk.

“Help for Heroes is a brilliant cause,” he said.

“The help they give just makes the lives of the servicemen who have been injured much easier.

“And walking for hundreds of miles it’s the least we can do to give something back.”

Bryn Parry, of Help for Heroes, said: “Wayne’s wonderful fund-raising challenge is greatly welcomed.

“He is an inspiration to us at Help for Heroes and those of our armed forces who have suffered life changing injuries.”

Twitter: @sunechohannah