St Blazey Gate couple walk 500 miles… then they walk 5,500 miles more – all for charity

the image is of Sally and Antony Brown, walking into the finish line at a local beach in Cornwall. There is bunting behind them. They are both wearing outdoor walking gear and RNLI Lifeboat jackets.
CHAOS Radio: A couple from St Blazey Gate walk 6,000 miles to raise money for Cornwall charities

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Even the Proclaimers didn’t walk as far as this inspirational couple from St Blazey Gate.

Sally and Antony Brown have spent the last year trekking the entire British coastline to raise vital funds for the RNLI, Cornwall Air Ambulance, Mind, and Parkrun.

It was an emotional moment as the couple crossed the finish line at Bude Lifeboat Station, having completed their 6000-mile challenge and raised more than £15k, with donations still coming in.

Over the year, Sally and Antony have walked an average of 17-miles a day and climbed the equivalent of Mount Everest 16 times. Their year-long trek has certainly had as many ups and downs. 


The Good

Speaking to CHAOS Radio, Antony shares that the real high was the people they met along the way who supported their journey.

“It restores your faith in human kindness,” says Antony, from St Blazey Gate.

“We’ve had complete strangers help us. It’s impossible to be totally self-sufficient on a challenge like this and hundreds of people have helped us over the year.”

Some of that vital support they depended on was having drivers for their trusty motorhome, nicknamed ‘Nancy’, which they planned to spend each night in after their hard day’s walking.   

“We had drivers planned for about 60% of our journey,” Antony says. “For the rest, we set out not knowing how we’d get back to Nancy. Yet someone would always mysteriously appear to help us.”

Two of their biggest supporters, Antony’s sister and brother-in-law, Denise and Leigh Moth, both offered and witnessed some of that kindness too.

Leigh, who drove Nancy on numerous occasions, describes the experience as “great fun”, but also says that some days they really didn’t know where they’d be staying that night.

“We knew we’d be in the van. But where would the van be?” says Leigh.

During winter, for example, no campsites are open in Scotland, so parking Nancy became problematic. They were regularly appealing to strangers for somewhere to stay.

People would come forward and say, ‘Yeah, you can park on our driveway. We’ll cook you an evening meal. Have you got any washing you want us to do? Would you like to get a shower?’

“People did all these lovely things and, honestly, without that, I don’t think there’s any way you could complete a walk like this,” says Antony.

CHAOS Radio: Anthony and Sally Brown sharing stories of their 6,000 mile walk

The Bad

Even the walking wasn’t straight forward. There were parts of the coastal path that were inaccessible or the path to take wasn’t clear, which led to some ‘healthy’ disagreements.

“We thought we’d always keep the sea to our left, but it’s not that simple. Sometimes there’s more than one path and we’d disagree on which one to take,” Antony says.

At one point, when the duo couldn’t agree, they took different paths and Antony ended up on a beach, wading through six feet of sea froth.

Let’s just say when the couple re-met, Antony was soaked, and Sally felt more than a little smug. 

“What I realised is that I should have listened to Sally because normally she was the one who turned out to be right,” laughs Antony.

The Down-Right Ugly

But this epic challenge proved epically challenging at times, particularly for Sally who, early on, developed an enormous, down-right ugly, blister.

Marching on through it, Sally thought she knew pain, but alas the worst was yet to come. She spent the best part of seven weeks in November and December hobbling through Scotland. 

By the time the duo took a few days off to spend with family at Christmas, Sally had developed plantar fasciitis – an inflammation in the foot that causes excruciating pain.

“I didn’t know how much longer I could go on for,” says Sally. Determined to try, the couple started up again, arriving at Broughty Ferry, near Dundee on New Year’s Eve.  

“It was there that I met a lovely member of the lifeboat crew, who was also a GP,” says Sally. “He asked if I’d like a cortisone injection, which I had. The following day I could walk again pain-free.”

Fortunately, other than a few niggles, the couple were able to complete the remainder of their epic hike relatively pain-free.

An Emotional End to an Epic Journey

Crossing the finish line, the day before Sally’s 60th birthday, the couple were understandably tired and tearful, yet thrilled to have completed their challenge to the cheers of a welcoming crowd.   

Among those eagerly awaiting Sally and Antony’s arrival were volunteers from the RNLI, Cornwall’s Air Ambulance, Bude-Stratton’s Mayor, a local band, friends & family and, of course, CHAOS Radio.

We asked Sue Kershaw, the acting chair of fundraising at Bude RNLI and organiser of the welcoming event, if she has any message for Sally and Antony upon completing their fundraising challenge.

“What can one say? Thank you. Thank you. Thank you. We’re so proud of you. You guys are amazing. What you’ve done is such an achievement.”

It was a sentiment echoed by so many waiting to greet the couple.

CHAOS Radio: Sally and Antony Brown reaching the finish line

Sally and Antony are now returning to their home in St Blazey Gate for the first time in a year. They plan to put their feet up and spend time with family – at least for a week or two – before returning to work and, in all likelihood, starting to think about their next challenge.

There’s still time to support Sally and Antony’s fundraising efforts and leave them a congratulatory message by donating through their fundraising pages to RNLI or Cornwall Air Ambulance Trust or Parkrun or Mind.