Drayton & Taverham

Dad’s smash walking challenge

Just Regional
Apr 26, 2023 2 mins read

Two intrepid walkers have reached the finish line of a 190-mile challenge – and smashed their fundraising target for a hospital intensive care baby unit.

Long-time friends Matt Dyke and Martin Church braved howling wind, torrential rain, blisters and muscle strains in an epic coast-to-coast trek from Cumbria to Yorkshire in just five days.

Soggy start in Cumbria

When the going got tough they had to split into two teams so they could walk at their own pace – with Matt finishing a day earlier than Martin, from Horsford.

But they reunited to triumphantly arrive at Robin Hood’s Bay together and grabbed ice creams to celebrate licking their challenge.

Their efforts have so far raised almost £8,500 for the Norfolk and Norwich University Hospital’s neo-natal intensive care unit, which helped both the dads when their babies arrived prematurely.

The total is way beyond their £5,750 target – and they hope further donations will come in now they have completed their challenge in less than their six-day goal.

Shortly after finishing, Anglian Water field technician Martin, 41, said: “I am just so tired – I just want to get home, see the family, have a pizza and get a good night’s sleep.

“The highlights were some stunning scenery, especially in the Lake District which was full of lambs, and the team camaraderie. The lowlights were a knee injury, which meant I let Matt go on at his own pace, and the tough terrain which was bleak at times.”

The finish line

Matt, 37, a project manager for Wall Engineering in North Walsham, added: “It was much harder than we imagined. Even the flatter bits, where we thought we would make up time, were tricky – boggy, slippery and you were having to jump over or walk around obstructions, mud and water.

“Our bodies are battered, bruised, blistered and swollen but we’re completely overwhelmed by the support, words of encouragement and donations received.

“My highlight was seeing Martin battle on and reuniting with him to reach the finish together.”

Both men paid tribute to their support team – driver Colm McGilway and sports therapists Sally Ling and Lisa Payne from Up and Running Treatments, who repaired their aching bodies along the way, plus various friends and guests who joined them for stretches of the walk to boost any flagging morale.

Donations towards their fundraising can be made via bit.ly/3Z6vRk9

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