Grandfather puts best foot forward with 124 mile walk
published on 17 Jul 2023
An 81-year-old fitness fanatic will take on a mammoth walk of 124 miles in eight days before competing in the Great North Run to raise money to help The Salvation Army support survivors of modern slavery.
Andy Peddle’s charity walk will start from his home city of Wakefield, West Yorkshire, on 2 September and end in Newcastle the day before he takes part in the biggest half marathon in the UK.
Donning his signature top hat, Andy will encourage others to put their best foot forward and join him on the route, which will take in Leeds, Harrogate, Ripon, Northallerton, Darlington, Sunderland and finish at the start of the Great North Run via the Angel of the North and The Salvation Army’s Newcastle City Temple church*.
Andy, who has two children and four grandchildren, who will join him as he sets off, said: “I’d been thinking about a challenge for my ninth decade after completing the London Marathon in 2015 for The Salvation Army. This won’t be easy as my aim is to do 10 miles on the first day, then 16 miles a day until the final stretch when I’ll do five miles to ease off in time for the Great North Run, which is another 13 miles that I plan to run and walk. I am in training now and more than ready to go!
“The idea is to invite others to walk alongside me and get sponsored as well. We’ve already got lots of people planning to join us at the start from Millennium Park, Rothwell, near my home in Wakefield, but I would love to invite others along the route.
“People can come and walk half a mile or 10 miles, depending on how much they would like to do and bearing in mind I have to cover 16 miles a day I’ll be going at quite a pace!”
It’s not the first time Andy has taken on a challenge like this having completed an 8,020 mile walk in the 1990s to raise funds for victims of drought in Ethiopia, Sudan and Somalia. He also did a 7,760 mile walkathon a decade ago visiting more than 900 Salvation Army churches, charity shops and 92 football grounds to raise money for victims of modern slavery.
Andy, who volunteered with The Salvation Army’s modern slavery team as a driver transporting and accompanying rescued survivors to safe houses, continued: “I feel passionately about doing this because I am passionate about what The Salvation Army does and what it stands for. It is the church I belong to, but it has this vision of helping other people which has been there since the start. I’m glad to be part of that vision and do my own little bit, to do it at my age and encourage other people to do it too.
“I’m hoping to raise £8,100 – a hundred pounds for each year of my life – which will go to survivors of modern slavery and to Salvation Army youth projects in the North East.”
Andy hopes his challenge will also raise awareness of human trafficking. The Salvation Army provides support services to help adult survivors of modern slavery rebuild their lives through a network of safe houses and outreach workers.
Major Kathy Betteridge, Director of Anti Trafficking and Modern Slavery for The Salvation Army, said: “We are so grateful to Andy for undertaking this incredible challenge to support survivors of modern slavery as they rebuild their lives following the most horrific exploitation and abuse.”
September 2 Wakefield to Leeds North (10 miles)
September 3 Leeds North to Harrogate (16 miles)
September 4 Harrogate to Ripon (16 miles)
September 5 Ripon to Northallerton (16 miles)
September 6 Northallerton to Darlington (16 miles)
September 7 Darlington to Sunderland Bridge (16 miles)
September 8 Sunderland Bridge to Angel of North (16 miles)
September 9 Angel of the North to Great North Run start (5 miles)