When Phil Eddy saw how hard the emergency services worked during the pandemic, he wanted to raise money for Cornwall Air Ambulance to give something back.
Inspired by Captain Sir Tom Moore and having read The Salt Path, the 74-year-old decided on a walking challenge and set about conquering 630 miles of the South West Coast Path.
With narrow paths and treacherous terrain, the walk which stretches from Minehead in Somerset to Poole in Dorset is not for the faint hearted.
Phil set off on 24th June 2021, taking the route in small sections at a time with wife Diane alongside in the campervan. In over a year of walking, Phil met at least five people who required air ambulance support, which helped to spur him on.
Phil finally completed the challenge on 10th September 2022, with the last steps taken on the ‘golden mile’ from Sennen to Land’s End – where it all began.
Phil said: “I loved it; there hasn’t been a day I didn’t enjoy. I fell over a few times, but no real damage was done. I’ve had tremendous support, especially from my wife, I couldn’t have done it without her.”
When Phil started out he could walk just a day at a time, as the months went on his fitness increased and he was able to tackle eight days in a row at his peak.
Phil was supported by family, friends, and strangers in his challenge, with some joining sections of the walk and others putting coins in his donation pot. He has raised over £2,000 for Cornwall Air Ambulance.
His daughter, Carrie Durrant, a paramedic with South Western Ambulance Service, helped with fundraising and was there to meet him on the finish line. She said: “Everyone is so proud of him. My uncle pledged to donate £1 for every mile he did. Just knowing we all had faith in him kept him going.”
Bobby Billinghurst, Fundraising & Database Administrator at Cornwall Air Ambulance, was also there to greet Phil at Land’s End. He said: “It was incredible to watch Phil complete his inspiring journey and to congratulate him in person. What a great achievement, and all before his 75th birthday! We are so grateful for his efforts and the money raised for the charity, which will help the crew to carry out more lifesaving missions.”
Find out how you can support Cornwall Air Ambulance here.