Walking from London to Paris to help end street homelessness
Luke took on a solo fundraising mission of a staggering 302km walk from London to Paris in aid of Thames Reach
Last month, Luke undertook the huge challenge of a solo sponsored walk from London to Paris. An entirely self-guided, self-initiated effort, he walked over 300km to raise money for our work helping to end street homelessness. We caught up with him after a well-earned rest to hear how it went!
London to Paris is an incredible feat to achieve on foot. Can you talk us through how it went day by day?
I walked out my front door at 3:30am, and spent the next five days walking all the way to the French capital, a total of 302km. The longest day was 95km from my home in south west London to Newhaven on the south coast. That day was a real challenge, taking a total of 22 hours, and had an elevation similar to climbing Snowdon.
A few hours into day one, it really hit home that my boots were not “worn in”, and my feet were in a lot of pain. Every step was hurting, which was making the challenge much harder.
Day two was a ferry ride from Newhaven to Dieppe. The few hours on the ferry allowed me to recover after the mammoth first day. I then made an impromptu visit in passing to a sports shop in Dieppe, where I bought some new trainers to use instead of the boots that were causing a lot of pain. As a stroke of fortune, these fit perfectly and I wore them for the rest of the trip. Having seen a snippet of Dieppe, I’ve decided I definitely want to visit properly someday.
The next three days then blurred into one 3-day long period of walking through lots of farmland in glorious spring sunshine, listening to podcasts and eating baguettes and an inhuman amount of trail mix.
I finally arrived in Paris to be greeted at the finish line by my two sisters, shortly followed by some much needed hot food and a glass of wine.
What support did you get from Thames Reach in the lead up to the event?
Thames Reach were very supportive, providing some really positive encouragement prior to the event. They kindly provided a couple of event t-shirts that I made great use of.
What inspired you take on a fundraising challenge for Thames Reach specifically (and such an extreme one at that!)?
The sheer size and visibility of the problem of homelessness in London is staggering. The statistics of the number of people who don’t have a home is truly shocking, and shouldn’t exist in this country.
After a few years of occasionally volunteering for Thames Reach in outreach as part of the Rapid Response Team, I wanted to make a contribution in a different way.
With charities constantly facing tough trade-offs in use of resources, supporting with a financial contribution can make a real difference to the people who rely on the services Thames Reach provides.
What was the highlight of the event for you?
Although I love walking and being outdoors, arriving in Paris was far and away the highlight. My feelings were a combination of a large sense of achievement… as well as a huge dose of relief that I could finally stop walking and rest!
If you are inspired by Luke’s incredible fundraising activity, head to our Support Us page and be part of the journey towards ending street homelessness.
His JustGiving page is still live if you would like to show your support. Click here to follow his journey.