Surprise welcome home for 416-mile Macmillan walker

Party time: Martin Thompson (seated, front) celebrates with family and friends. Photo: SG230711-334NG
Party time: Martin Thompson (seated, front) celebrates with family and friends. Photo: SG230711-334NG
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LONELINESS was out of the question for long distance walker Martin Thompson when he returned home from a triumphant 416-mile stroll from Boston to Barnstaple in Devon.

His family threw a surprise barbecue party to congratulate him on his charity effort, which will see him raise between £2,000 and £2,500 for Macmillan Cancer Care.

Martin (58) set off from Boston Stump on June 16 to walk the Macmillan Way as a tribute to his wife, Brenda, who died aged 55 from a rare form of cancer, and to thank Macmillan nurses who cared for her.

The furthest he’s ever walked before – and only occasionally – was eight to ten miles.

Martin returned home with his feet blistered and “in a mess”.

But he says: “If at the end of the day somebody gets the same service from Macmillan that we did then every step was worth it.”

Martin carried a picture of Brenda for inspiration and his son, Shaun, and daughter, Rachel, each walked short stretches of the route by his side.

Brenda’s brother, Ray Copeland and his wife, Bridget, arranged a holiday in Devon so they could greet Martin at the finish and bring him back to his home in Spalding’s Angelica Drive.

Rachel said: “He did really well.

“He finished his walk on Thursday and he was obviously very relived to finish it.

“He felt on a high and he’s really pleased with the money he has raised.

“I am extremely proud of him, to be honest, words don’t say enough. I think he has done an absolutely incredible thing in memory of my mum, who was such an incredible person.

“I think my mum has been an inspiration to be honest. She was a brave, courageous lady and she left a hole in our lives that we can’t really fill.”

Rachel said her dad walked a few extra miles than he needed to – because the Macmillan Way isn’t that well sign-posted – but he’s well after his big adventure and suffered only a few blisters.

Martin hopes to present his money to Macmillan in a few weeks and would also like to do something for St Barnabas too because they were also very good to Brenda.