Former soldier hikes 360 miles after being told he may not walk again
- Credit: Picture: BRIAN EDWARDS
A former soldier who was told he may not walk again after a crash on the A12 has defied the odds to hike 360 miles across the UK.
Brian Edwards, known as Eddy, has spent 11 days hiking from St David’s Head in Pembrokeshire to Ness Point in Lowestoft, walking more than 32 miles each day to cross the country.
The 68-year-old, who lives in Colchester, finished his charity trek on Wednesday evening after setting off completely solo and enduring extreme temperatures.
He carried his tent on his back along with all his supplies, including his breakfast meal of porridge and some Cup A Soup packets for the evenings.
Mr Edwards completed the challenge to raise money for the Help for Heroes charity after spending 23 years as a warrant officer class one in the British Army – a career which he loved.
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He and his wife then moved to Colchester, where he became an officer with Essex Police.
Whilst on duty in 1997, Mr Edwards experienced a life-changing moment when he was assisting a driver at the side of the A12.
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A car came round the bend and struck both the driver and Mr Edwards, who flew through the windscreen due to the impact and shattered his legs. He also broke both his arm and shoulder and suffered head injuries in the incident.
He was told by doctors he might not walk again.
“I love to run, so when I was at home and I couldn’t walk, even just looking out of the window and seeing people jogging would really get to me,” said Mr Edwards.
“I didn’t know how much progress I would make, but I was desperate to get back into the police force.”
After the crash, Mr Edwards spent 18 months learning to take his first steps and it wasn’t until three years later that he managed to walk again.
He went back into frontline policing and has been taking on challenges ever since to raise money for the charity which is dear to him.
“I loved being in the army,” he said.
“I chose to raise money for Help for Heroes for all those soldiers and their families who have been either physically or mentally affected by their service.
“I was very fortunate not to be injured, but many people aren’t as lucky.
“I am also so thankful for my wife Sandie who looked after me for years after my injury, and for putting up with all my training and early mornings.
“I could not have done it without her.”
This is not the first time Mr Edwards has pushed himself to the limit to raise money for the charity – he has cycled from Land’s End to John O’Groats in nine days, ran a relay from John O’Groats to Colchester and cycled the coast to coast route in four days last year.
After completing the 360 mile challenge – and raising nearly £2,000 – Mr Edwards said he was very proud of his achievement.
“It’s all about the determination and the willpower,” he said.
“I have been amazed by the friendliness of people.”