A ROYAL Navy diver battling cancer has completed a punishing long-distance walk in aid of charity.
Warrant Officer (WO1) Tim Sizer, of Horsea Island’s Defence Diving School, trekked 630 miles along the South West Coastal Path raising almost £6,300 for Cancer Research UK.
The task came after the hardy sailor was diagnosed with follicular lymphoma in January of last year, undergoing six months of intense chemotherapy.
But far from taking the diagnosis sitting down, the 55-year-old decided to push his body to the limits – something he had been doing as one of the navy’s elite divers since the age of 17 – for the charity which helped him.
It took him 45 days to complete the undulating coastal route, climbing 114,931ft along the way – nearly four times the height of Mount Everest.
Tim, of Fareham, said: ‘It was a fantastic feeling to reach the finish line and to complete the challenge that I set out to do and more importantly to honour the kind donations that were made.
‘I also have a feeling of immense sadness that it’s all over, it really was an amazing experience and a very simple way of life, far removed from the hustle and bustle and stresses of normal life.’
His set off from Minehead, in Somerset, in May, spending most nights camping wild before reaching the finish line in Poole, Dorset.
Tim’s wife, Lynn, and his friends walked with him at various stages to help he morale up.
He lost nearly 12kg in weight walking an average of 15 miles a day and carrying 17kg of camping equipment, spare clothes, water and food during the trek.
Tim will now need regulary check ups. He added cancer had already blighted his family, claiming the life of his father in 2009.
‘I knew something was wrong but I never in a million years thought it was cancer,’ he said. ‘When the consultant came in and told me it was a complete sucker punch.’
‘I never thought for one moment that something like this would hit me so suddenly and at what I term an early age 54,’ he said.
In addition to raising almost £6,300 for Cancer Research UK, Tim has pledged to personally match 10 per cent of the final total and donate to the Vernon Monument appeal.
The appeal seeks to build a tribute to all mine warfare and naval divers at the former site of HMS Vernon, now Portsmouth’s Gunwharf Quays.
To donate, see justgiving.com/fundraising/timsizer