Retired Sunderland policeman trekking 1,300 miles to support Multiple Sclerosis Trust
A retired policeman is back on the beat as he treks Britain for charity.
Jim Thompson set out on May 18 on a 1,300 mile walk to raise money for the Multiple Sclerosis Trust.
The 59-year-old from Hetton is embarking on the adventure not only to raise vital funds for the charity, but also to mark his upcoming 60th birthday.
Jim, who was born and bred in Washington, but now lives in Hetton with his wife, Anne, is walking from the most southerly point in Britain to the most northerly point.
A volunteer with the Teesdale and Weardale Search and Mountain Rescue Team, Jim, along with Anne, 63, regularly raises cash for the MS Trust which is close to their hearts.
Anne’s son, Stephen Evans, who is 40 this year, was diagnosed with MS when he was just 12-years-old.
Jim said: “When I first met Anne, Stephen was 20 and to look at him you wouldn’t know he had MS. But, unfortunately, he now needs to use a wheelchair.”
The grandad-of-two said the MS Trust has been a great support to his family and he has previously ran the Great North Run for them and has swam from Islay to the Scottish mainland by island hopping.
Together Jim and Anne have raised more than £27,000 for the trust and are hoping this latest huge feat of Jim’s will raise a further £9,000.
Jim has fully funded this trip himself, the route is fully planned, all the accomodation is booked, and he will be away from home for 105 days in total.
He said: “This is something I have always wanted to do. I had planned to do it five years ago, but my mam was ill. So, I thought for my 60th birthday it would be the perfect time to do it.”
Jim, is being accompanied on the journey with his mascot teddy bear, Ed, attached to his rucksack.
He said: “I am fine walking alone in the countryside, I don’t mind that.
“I didn’t want to just go by road, so for most of the walk I will be using long distance footpaths.
“I have no illusions that I’m going to have some days of bad weather, but I will just have to carry on.”
There will be days in the trip when Jim meets up with various family members and friends, but he will be mostly on his own until he returns to Wearside in August.
He has factored in a handful of rest days near big towns and cities so he can buy any supplies he might need.
The MS Trust is a UK charity providing information for anyone affected by multiple sclerosis, educating health professionals, funding practical research and campaigning for MS services.
Anyone who wants to support Jim can make a donation via his fund-raising page, uk.virginmoneygiving.com/JamesThompson59.