Lancashire

Blackpool ex-soldier finishes Help for Heroes 8,000 mile trek

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Media captionA former soldier finished an 8,000 mile trek for Help for Heroes along Britain's coastline, where he slept rough every night on the 19-month long journey

A former soldier has finished an 8,000 mile charity trek along Britain's coastline, where he slept rough every night of the 19-month long journey.

Christian Nock, 39, from Blackpool in Lancashire, was welcomed back to the seaside town, having raised more than £170,000 for Help for Heroes.

The ex-Staffordshire Regiment soldier was homeless after he left the Army.

He embarked on the fundraiser to highlight how former military personnel often end up on the streets.

'Amazing'

During the walk, Mr Nock went through 14 pairs of walking boots and met his girlfriend Kelly Osbourne, who brought a flask of coffee out to him in Folkestone in Kent.

He accepted hot meals and showers and agreed to have his kit washed but he always refused offers of a room or a bed to sleep in.

Mr Nock, who took his final step on the South Pier, said: "To come back to that sort of reception is amazing.

"It's nice people have appreciated what I have put myself through."

Image caption Christian Nock used 14 pairs of walking boots on his 8,000 mile trek along Britain's coastline

He set off from Blackpool on 8 August 2012. Mr Nock suffered from blisters, sickness bugs and colds, as well as battling freezing and rainy conditions.

He was forced to avoid landslides and swollen rivers and tried to find somewhere safe to sleep each night.

Mr Nock, who was originally from Staffordshire, joined the army in 1990 and left eight years later. He moved to Blackpool in 2010 to run a B&B.

'Huge personal sacrifices'

Mr Nock said: "I have seen the difficulties soldiers face once returning to life as a civilian.

"Sadly, there are too many ex-servicemen who end up living on the streets as a result."

Bryn Parry, chief executive and co-founder of Help for Heroes said: "What Christian has achieved is nothing short of astonishing.

"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," he added.

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