A FATHER’S determination to complete a gruelling 100-mile hike in memory of his late son has inspired another walker to follow in his footsteps.
Andrew Fairley said he found the determination shown by Robin Hollington during last year’s South Downs Way Challenge – which saw him walk non-stop from Eastbourne to Winchester – incredible.
Mr Hollington raised £35,000 for Help for Heroes in memory of his Marine son Richard, who in June 2010 became the 300th serviceman killed in Afghanistan.
Mr Fairley, of Crasswell Street, Landport, will do the hike for the same charity with the help of friends dotted along the route ready to give him hot drinks, food and fresh pairs of socks.
The 43-year-old insurance worker said: ‘I don’t know Robin and I’ve never met him but what he did impressed me enormously.
‘His walk was borne out of tragic circumstances. I can’t imagine what it was like for him but I’m sure that drove him on.
‘I was so inspired after reading his story in The News that I started thinking about doing something similar myself as a tribute to him really.
‘What he did was incredible and who knows how many other people he has inspired?’
Mr Fairley’s late father William and his mother Maureen were both in the Royal Navy, as is his 30-year-old nephew Lee Roberts.
He said: ‘Help for Heroes is a charity I’ve always contributed to and the charity is all about ordinary people doing everything than can for extraordinary people.
‘I’m no athlete. I’m just an ordinary guy who has been lucky enough to live a secure and full life due in no small part to the sacrifices made by our servicemen and women.’
Having grown up in Horndean, Mr Fairley has happy childhood memories of the South Downs.
He loves walking and as part of his training has completed a 50-mile training hike.
‘I seem to be up and down Butser Hill like a yo-yo at the moment,’ said Mr Fairley,
‘I can do it now without even getting out of breath.
‘My mother says I spend more time at the top of hills than the Grand Old Duke of York.
‘Nick Birmingham has helped enormously in planning the event, and will be making sure everything runs smoothly.’
The challenge begins in Eastbourne at 5am on June 22.
Mr Fairley is hoping to complete the challenge by 7pm the following day.
Anyone who would like to sponsor the T-shirts that he and his support team will wear can contact him on 07597 502603.
To donate towards Help for Heroes go to bmycharity.com/AndrewFairley