A former policeman is enjoying a well-earned rest after covering more than 300 miles on foot to raise money and awareness for the Soldiers, Sailors, Airmen and Families Association (SSAFA).
Major Brian Finlayson, public awareness and fund-raising officer for the Northumberland branch of SSAFA Forces Help, completed back-to-back long-distance walks in a bid to raise vital funds for the charity.
The 72-year-old, from Christon Bank, who spent nine years in the Coldstream Guards from the late 1950s, and worked as a policeman in Berwick for 10 years from the late 1970s, tackled the West Highland Way, before taking on the Coast to Coast challenge.
Carrying ‘everything but the kitchen sink’, and walking through rain, shine, and some days waist-high mud, it was no easy feat.
“Someone told me that after the third day aching muscles and sore backs and feet would get better,” Brian said.
“I now believe that person has never, ever walked in their life!”
The kindness of people along the way, and three jelly babies at lunchtime, ‘for instant energy’, spurred Brian on, helping him complete the challenging 300-mile trek in three weeks.
Undeterred by waking up in freezing and soaking wet tents, Brian continued no matter what. So far, Brian has raised almost £500 for SSAFA.“People are amazing!” he said. “While I was doing the walk people that I didn’t know put their hand in their pocket.
“It was really heartening.
“I have been involved with SSAFA for 20 years. They helped me out many years ago when my little boy died and I want to give as much back as I can.
“SSAFA gives practical as well as financial assistance to any serviceman or woman who has drawn one day’s pay, and to their families – for that the charity offers a lifetime of support.”
You can still donate at Brian’s just giving page: www.JustGiv ing/brianfinlayson, or cheques made out to SSAFA Forces Help Northumberland Branch can be sent to him at 3 Christon Bank Village, Alnwick, Northumberland, NE66 3EY.