See the Difference / Stories / Stuart Nicholson

Stuart Nicholson

Just two years ago, Stuart Nicholson could never have imagined walking 180 miles. Crippled with knee problems he was confined to a mobility scooter.

“It all began with a motorcycle accident, which caused weakness in one knee. I could still move and do sports, but once there’s a weakness it goes downhill. I was eventually registered as disabled.”

Since then, the 70-year-old Help for Heroes volunteer has undergone two knee replacements. Not only did this ease the pain, it also transformed his movement.

“My new knees may not be as good as 20-year-old knees… but they’re far better than my 60-year-old knees!”

Wanting to aid his rehabilitation, but restricted by coronavirus lockdown measures, Stuart visited a virtual walking website. Feeling inspired, he registered to virtually walk 90 miles along Hadrian’s Wall.

Using a fitness app, each time Stuart took his daily exercise around the local streets of Brighton, the device tracked his progress along a map of the Roman landmark.

Upon completing this, he decided to set his sights higher. Taking on a virtual route between Mount Cook to Christchurch in New Zealand, Stuart challenged himself to walk the 180-mile route in 80 days. It was also the perfect opportunity to raise funds for our nation’s heroes.

“I’ve volunteered with the Charity for two years, and have helped at many events, from Tesco collections to the Tour de Yorkshire. But this year, because of coronavirus, everything was cancelled.

“I recognised this would leave a big hole in fundraising. Virtual walking was a way I could benefit from exercise and Help for Heroes could benefit from donations.”

When we spoke to him on the 22nd June, Stuart was 25 days into his challenge, and already two thirds of the way through.

“I signed up saying it would take me 80 days, but I think I’ll complete it in 50 days. I’ve raised £350 - about the same as what we’d fundraise during a Tesco collection.

When asked why the Charity is important to him, Stuart told us:

“We should help those who put their lives on the line for us. Many have ongoing wounds because of serving our country - they deserve support. I hope my challenge inspires others to do the same thing and fundraise.”

As for future virtual walks, Stuart told us he has something in mind….

“I’ve got my eye on the next one. It travels from southern France, through the Pyrenees, to North Eastern Spain – roughly 800 miles!”

Thank you, Stuart!

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