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Pensioner's 18-Month trek comes to west midlands

A pensioner headed to the West Midlands as part of a charity walk across the UK and Ireland to raise £100,000 for The Salvation Army’s work with homeless people and victims of human trafficking.

Andy Peddle, 70, arrived in Oldbury on 1 February 2013 as part of his 18-month-long fundraising bid. He travelled through Dudley, Cradley Heath and Lye, as well as visiting Coventry City Football Club.

Having started his epic journey on 16 May 2012 in the Shetland Islands, Andy is walking to more than 800 Salvation Army churches (corps), Lifehouses and charity shops and every league football club throughout the UK. At each Salvation Army base, he will give a talk about the issues of human trafficking and homelessness. He is hoping to raise awareness as well as much-needed funds.

Andy said: “The Salvation Army has a long history of offering practical support to people who are vulnerable or in need. We are there for 3,500 homeless men, women and families every night.”

The walkathon is a pilgrimage for Andy too – he and his wife have rented out their home and his wife has relocated centrally to Leeds. A support van follows Andy on his trek so he can have a break and sleep whenever needed.

While resting in Sunderland, thieves broken into the vehicle. Andy said: “We lost a couple of cameras with our first five months’ pictures on them. These events either knock you down or make you stronger. It has made me more determined than ever to finish what I’ve started – to raise £100,000 to help The Salvation Army make a difference in the lives of others.”

Andy, from High Wycombe in Buckinghamshire, is keen to see people support him by doing their own ‘mini’ sponsored walks of one mile or more – and for them to put pictures of the places they visit on Facebook, Twitter and Flickr.

He added: “I want people over the age of 65 to realise that life does go on and that you can volunteer and become involved. I would love to see as many people as possible support us in this project.”

Major Samuel Edgar, leader of The Salvation Army in the West Midlands, said: “The Salvation Army hopes that, as a culture, we will start viewing people who are ‘homeless’ as people who have a contribution to make in our society. It is fantastic that Andy is taking on this personal pilgrimage to help those truly in need.”

Anyone can follow his progress here: www.salvationarmy.org.uk/uki/walk

To support Andy visit his just giving page: www.justgiving.com/andy-peddle