Selston man walks 1,360 miles from John o' Groats to Lands' End in wife's memory

Paul and Jill Beasley.
Paul and Jill Beasley.

In the spirit of The Proclaimers' hit song 'I'm Gonna Be', a Selston man has proved he would walk 500 miles and 500 more, plus an extra 360, to pay tribute to his late wife.

Devoted widower Paul Beasley, aged 60, returned from a gruelling 1,360-mile walk from John o' Groats in Scotland to Lands End in Cornwall as part of a challenge that saw him raise more than £11,000 for charity.

Paul's wife of 34 years Jill died from secondary breast cancer in February 2018 after a five year battle with the illness, and as an active person he wanted to do what he could to raise some charity cash.

A coach with Sutton Harriers Running Club for a number of years, he wanted to do something to honour Jill that would really "push me to my limits".

And completing the challenge in his target of 76 days, he walked almost 20 miles every day and crossed nearly every part of Britain.

On his route from bonnie Scotland to the Cornish country, he trekked through the Scottish highlands to the Pennines and down towards Wales and the Midlands and got to take in the "beautiful views".

Paul, who suffers with an arthritic leg, says it was often a difficult feat but that he's so proud of smashing his £1,300 target for charity Against Breast Cancer, which supported his beloved Jill.

He said: "It was often very challenging, I walked 76 days without rest and almost 20 miles most days - I just kept going, even with my arthritic leg.

"Some of the paths I took were horrendous, especially down towards the coastal routes in the south west and in the Pennines.

"On one day it took me 13 hours to do one 14-mile section because of all the hills and paths, but it was nice weather and I got some beautiful coastal views in. It was all worth it.

"I met some amazing people along the way who donated to the cause.

"On one day I encountered a group of school children and their teacher on a path, and after telling them my story they started a collection which was lovely.

"And I've had everyone behind me back in Selston. I posted videos and pictures daily to keep people up-to-date on my progress."

After returning from his impressive challenge, Paul paid tribute to Jill - describing her an a "great wife".

He said: "She was an active woman who went to the gym a lot, and she always knew I would be doing this one day and she was going to be my support.

"But in 2013 Jill was diagnosed with secondary breast cancer which eventually spread to Brain Metastases.

"She was a very good mentor and a great wife to me, we were together for nearly 40 years so it was a big loss."

To read more about his story, or to donate, visit justgiving.com/fundraising/walkforjill