Earlier this year, my partner, the wonderful Claire passed away from cancer. It was a sudden, unexpected thing which changes my life, and that of her boys, immensely. With this in mind I have decided to do something completely different for a while. I am starting out on a long walk. This will be a huge personal challenge, a fundraising opportunity for the hospice, a chance for me to start moving forwards - “from A to B”, not knowing quite where it will end, but knowing that I will get there with the passing of time.

I will leave work at the end of the summer holidays and walk “full time” for a period, as yet unknown. In the weeks and months prior to that I will start walking - weekends and holidays. My minimum objective is to complete the South West Coastal path - a path described as the “ultimate challenge” for long distance hikers, 630 miles through Somerset, Devon, Cornwall and Dorset. I won’t do it in one go, I will complete each of 52 legs over the next 5 months. Not necessarily in order, but ensuring that I join them all up and only start where I finished the previous time.

It’s a long walk! I know some of this path well. Claire and I spent many happy miles walking along the Jurassic coast in particular. She will be with me all of the way. Some of it I will walk alone and some I will walk with others. For part I will camp, and for other parts either stay with friends or travel in between places in order to make it work.

One doesn’t look forward to a relationship with a hospice. And yet, from the absolute beginning, Royal Trinity was there for us. The welcoming staff, the beautiful surroundings, the care for those who stay there. The listening ears anytime that I wanted to talk, or cry or ask. This walk, this journey, is an opportunity to try and give something back to them. The place and people who cared for Claire, and me, in her last days. Thank you Royal Trinity Hospice.

If you want to follow my journey then you can do so on Instagram at @a2b_a_long_walk , via my blog at a2balongwalk.wordpress.com or you can support by visiting my Just Giving Page.

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