Everyday ordinary people do extraordinary things to fundraise so we can help our wounded. Occasionally people do completely astonishing things… meet Christian Nock.
This weekend Christian Nock, who celebrated his 40th birthday this week, took his final step on the South Pier in Blackpool having walked the entire coastline of Britain for Help for Heroes (H4H). Greeted by the Town Crier in full voice and a huge welcome home party of supporters, Christian finished his epic trek where it all began.
18 months ago, Christian set off from his local pub in Blackpool and since then he has slept rough every night, initially aiming to cover 7,000 miles but now estimated at closer to an amazing 8,000 miles by following the coast as near as paths and roads will allow, with no use of alternative transport.
Christian set off on this incredible challenge on 8 August 2012, with the incentive to ‘do his bit.’ Having declared himself homeless after leaving the Army, Christian has slept rough every night with the simple aim to raise awareness of the fact that many of our ex-Servicemen and women also end up on the streets. He has accepted a hot meal and shower and his kit washed but always refused the luxury of a room or a bed.
He has coped with blisters, sickness bugs, colds, blizzards, freezing conditions, non-stop rain coupled with landslides and swollen rivers and the task of trying to find somewhere safe to sleep each night. His original plan was to raise £10,000 for H4H but, as news of his feat spread, has now raised an astonishing total of nearly £200,000.
Christian Nock: “As an ex-infantryman myself, I have seen the difficulties soldiers face once returning to life as a civilian. Many struggle to reintegrate into normal family life, often due to a lack of counselling and support. This can lead to further problems such as post-traumatic stress disorder, dependency on drink and drugs and thus divisions within families. Sadly, there are too many ex-Servicemen who end up living on the streets as a result. My aim is not only to raise an obscene sum of money for Help for Heroes but to enhance public awareness of our homeless soldiers by sleeping as they would sleep.”
Christian has received incredible support everywhere he has walked; in particular he has got through 14 pairs of walking boots generously donated by Berkshire Outdoor Leisure. His grit and determination to continue, no matter what, has driven many of his followers to walk in his footsteps in other ways. Some have begun volunteering at homeless charities, donating food or simply just noticing and giving a friendly smile to those who sleep on the streets.
Bryn Parry, CEO and Co-Founder of Help for Heroes: “What Christian has achieved is nothing short of astonishing. Since Help for Heroes launched 6 years ago, the Great British public has done many remarkable things, but Christian’s walk is unique. We have never heard of anyone contemplating this challenge, let alone completing it. Choosing to walk such a long distance over a sustained period of time – whilst sleeping rough to raise attention of homelessness – has required huge personal sacrifices by Christian. As a result of these sacrifices, Christian has raised an incredible amount of money which will help us provide practical, direct support to Servicemen, women and veterans who have suffered life-changing injuries and illnesses.”
To read more about how Christian completed this epic journey follow him on Facebook, or to DONATE and show support for this amazing feat or text 'NOCK' TO 70900 donate £5 (You will be charged £5 plus your standard network rate).