Veteran completes 12 months on epic trek to raise money for SSAFA
Veteran Christian Lewis, who was helped out of homelessness by SSAFA, has been walking around the UK coastline for the last 12 months. He has already raised more than £44,000 in support of his astonishing mission.
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The 38-year-old from Killay, who set off on his quest in August 2017 with just £10 in his pocket, is relying on the goodwill of the public and the survival skills he learned while serving with the 2nd Battalion Parachute Regiment to reach his goal.
The single father was inspired to carry out the challenge on behalf of SSAFA as his way of giving back: after leaving the Armed Forces to raise his child, he had difficulties dealing with everyday challenges and eventually, he and his teenage daughter found themselves homeless.
Chris says: “I was just pretty lost, I didn’t know where to turn. The Army doesn’t teach you life skills like dealing with bills, letters, debt; it’s hard to do. When we became homeless I made contact with SSAFA and they helped me through it.
“If it hadn’t been for SSAFA I would have been in big trouble. I don’t know where we would be, whether or not social services would have taken my daughter away - not because of my parenting, but (due to) the situation we were in.”
This quest has given Chris the opportunity to do what he loves and challenge himself to an outdoor, physically intense task, often in extreme temperatures and barren landscapes. However, despite the challenges, Chris says “I absolutely love it. Obviously it has it’s testing moments but that’s all part of it.
“I can’t reiterate enough how nice people have been and I just wouldn’t have been able to do it if it wasn’t for them and that support, so a big thank-you to everyone.”