Man who couldn't walk hikes 200km on Wrekin for charity

A businessman recovering from a severe joint disorder that left him unable to walk has trekked up the Wrekin 12 times - covering 200km - to raise money for those fleeing domestic violence.

Neil Hargreaves on the Wrekin
Neil Hargreaves on the Wrekin

Neil Hargreaves, a sign-maker and printer, from Great Wyrley, made the 16km trip round the Wrekin 12 times on behalf of his company Q Safe Solutions which is part of Aqua Sign and Print - completing a third of a million steps.

He has managed to raise half of his £1,400 total for Midland charity the Buddy Bag Foundation, that provides bags of essentials and home comforts for children in emergency care after fleeing violent homes.

Buddy Bag teddy on the Wrekin

His 200km mission is particularly remarkable as four years ago he could not walk due to a severe case of saturated gout, a type of arthritis that runs in Neil’s family but was triggered when he contracted rheumatic fever.

His doctor saw little hope of improvement so told him to register as disabled.

The gout affected all his joints and the pain was so unbearable he was confined to a chair and couldn’t even hold a glass of water.

After 18 months of physio, a long-term course of medication and a diet designed by a specialist, Neil can not only walk but is fitter than ever and walking has become his passion. Walking 150,000 steps a week, he has not let his disorder stop him.

“I was determined to not let it define me. I spent 18 months recovering both physically and mentally, now walking is a big part of my life,” he added.

Neil’s now got his sights set on climbing Snowdon and Ben Nevis in the name of charity when lockdown is over.

To make a donation, visit Neil’s JustGiving page at justgiving.com/fundraising/qsafesolutions

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