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Emotional Andrew raises over £5,000 completing Yorkshire Wolds Way

Beeford fundraiser Andrew Elliker-Reeve can tick hill walking off his list of challenges after completing the Yorkshire Wolds Way over seven emotional days, raising £5,000 for Guide Dogs in the process.

The 79-mile walk from Hessle Foreshore to Filey Brigg was the biggest challenge to date for Andrew, who lost his sight over two years ago when a routine operation went wrong.

Previously, Andrew has run seven half marathons in as many days on his treadmill and walked from one end of the UK to the other – both major efforts, but nothing like hill walking for the first time since losing his sight in all kinds of weather.

But, with the help of 11 guide walkers, the support of his wife Rebecca and generosity from local businesses along the way, Andrew was able to cross the finish line in Filey on schedule.

By the time he reached the North Yorkshire coast, Andrew’s emotions were running high and energy levels dipping low.

However, he described the challenge as ‘terrific’ and thanked everyone who had offered help before, during and after the walk.

“The challenge was a lot bigger than I thought,” said Andrew.

“I really thought I was just going for a stroll in the countryside!

“The biggest thing to take from the walk is teamwork. To help me walk 79 miles is a huge achievement and I can’t thank them enough.

“I was joined by 11 different guides over the course of the seven days and only one of them was trained to walk with someone who is blind.

“It’s astonishing and they deserve a massive round of applause.

“The one thing I missed was being unable to see the views from the top of the hills, but the guides were able to describe what they could see.

“There were tricky parts along the way. The guides had to explain the type of hill we were climbing and whether it was short or steep and there was lots of guesstimating involved.

“The last day was a very emotional one. The weather was hellish, very cold and wet.

“It was also the most difficult stage and saw us walk 38 miles, but we reached the end and it was great to see so many people turn out to cheer us home.

“The whole experience was terrific. I’ve been able to meet 11 great people, some of whom I will become friends with for life.

“As well as the guides, I would like to thank everyone who sponsored me and the businesses who supported us along the way.

“This included the Goodmanham Arms and Seaways café in Fridaythorpe, who provided us with lunch. It meant so much.

“Another big thank you goes to Sam McGivern from East Riding of Yorkshire Council who was an incredible help and was on hand whenever I needed her.

“At 6:10pm on the final day, I received a knock on the door and it was Sam.

“She had brought me a tealight holder, one of only 40 made to celebrate the 40th anniversary of the Yorkshire Wolds Way, as well as a chocolate cake.

“It was a lovely gesture and for all people knock the council, they were incredible.

“The biggest thanks of all must go to my wife, Rebecca.

“She was there throughout the challenge, waking up at 6am every morning and made sure we were all fed and watered, as well as giving lifts and updating the blog.

“She worked her socks off from 6 o’clock to 9 o’clock for seven days and never stopped smiling.”

Andrew set a target of raising £5,000 for Guide Dogs, a charity which helps blind and partially-sighted people across the UK through the provision of guide dogs.

He has surpassed his target, with the fundraising total standing at £5,120 at the time of going to press.
With his fundraising page still open for donations, Andrew is enjoying a well-earned rest before embarking on his next challenge – which could see him take to the water.

“I surprised myself with how well I did,” added Andrew.

“At times, particularly towards the end, I was shattered, but I was determined to see it through.

“I’m proud of myself and the team who got me there and to raise more than £5,000 is great news.

“Hundreds of people still need guide dogs and this money will go towards funding at least one.

“I’m now planning to have a long rest. I know that I can hill walk, which ticks another box.

“Next year, I believe there are plans for me to go paddleboarding, which will be very interesting and I’m now receiving more and more bookings for public speaking.”

If you would like to sponsor Andrew, you can do so by visiting justgiving.com/fundraising/travellingblind1, whilst you can also follow his blog at facebook.com/travellingblind.

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