Two dads have completed a gruelling 190-mile challenge, raising thousands of pounds for the N&N where their babies spent their first days.
Matt Dyke and Martin Church braved howling wind, torrential rain, blisters and muscle strains in an epic trek from Cumbria to Yorkshire in just five days.
So far, they have raised more than £8,500 for the N&N Hospitals Charity neo-natal intensive care fund.
The NICU unit is close to the hearts of both men – Martin’s first child, Charlie, arrived eight weeks early in 2018, then his second, Mabel, was 14 weeks premature in December 202, while Matt’s daughter Rosa was five weeks premature in 2014 and all three treated on the unit.
Their route took them through the Lake District, over the Pennines, across the North York Moors ascending a total height twice as high as Mount Everest’s base camp to the summit.
Martin, from Horsford, said after reaching the end: “I am just so tired – I just want to get home, see the family, have a pizza and a good night’s sleep.
“The highlights were some stunning scenery, especially in the Lake District which was full of lambs, and the team camaraderie. The lowlights were a knee injury which meant I let Matt go on at his own pace, and the tough terrain which was bleak at times.”
Matt added: “It was much harder than we imagined. Even the flatter bits, where we thought we would make up time were tricky – boggy, slippery and you were having to jump over or walk around obstructions, mud and water.
“Our bodies are battered, bruised, blistered and swollen but we’re completely overwhelmed by the support, words of encouragement and donations received.
Both men paid tribute to their support team – driver Colm McGilway and sports therapists Sally Ling and Lisa Payne from Up and Running Treatments plus various friends and guests who joined them for stretches of the walk to boost sometimes flagging morale. They also thanked Stebbings Car Superstore at King’s Lynn for donating a crew van and tank of fuel.