A pensioner walked solo for nearly 300 miles from the North East to London to raise awareness of hearing loss.
Andy Griffin, 72, from Shilbottle, has severe hearing loss, has had two hip replacements and takes angina medication. Despite all this, he took on the 298-mile route from Jarrow to Marble Arch as part of the Jarrow March.
He was aiming to raise awareness of the one in six people living with hearing loss in the UK and the work of charity Action on Hearing Loss which helps support them.
Starting at Jarrow, he averaged 22 miles a day, staying overnight in his motorhome throughout the journey before arriving at Marble Arch in London just over two weeks later to be welcomed by friends.
Andy, a former primary school teacher, said: “I suppose a 72-year-old with two hip replacements, severe hearing loss and angina walking 300 miles is unusual but I just love sustained walking to different places and I wanted to take on a challenge for my physical shortcomings.
“I did six hours a day on my feet and although I had blisters on my blisters, it was no real hardship. The highlight was probably walking in sunshine at 6am when very few were about, walking 10 miles before most people had surfaced from their beds.”
Andy’s interest in the Jarrow March stemmed from his connection to the town where he grew up and he was keen to follow in the footsteps of the hunger marchers who did the same route 80 years ago in October.
He said: “The final 21 miles from St Albans was very emotional. It was definitely an arduous challenge but there was quiet satisfaction in the achievement and I felt the spirit of the march was in the air.”
Anne Shilton, community support officer at Action on Hearing Loss, said, “We are incredibly proud of Andy and his fantastic achievement. He is a true inspiration to us all who gives so much time to his local community, whether it is through his fantastic volunteering raising awareness of hearing loss or writing plays and books on local history to educate generations.”