Published: 15:13, 11 November 2017 |
Updated: 15:16, 11 November 2017
It was a moment of celebration for Alex Ellis-Roswell who finished his three-year walking venture this afternoon.
After 9,500 miles and with more than 200 lifeboats visited, the 24-year-old returned to the very same spot he left from at Minnis Bay.
So far, Alex, from Canterbury, has raised more than £65,000 for the life-saving charity and hopes to hit a target of £95,000 - £10 to represent every mile he has walked.
He set out on his walk on August 3, 2014, and walked around the UK and Irish coastline clockwise, starting with Margate lifeboat station.
He left his job, gave notice on his flat and walked out with only what he carried on his back.
Since then, he's slept in a tent he carries with him - or relied on the kindness of strangers.
He's often been put up by lifeboat crew or people who have met him along the way.
Alex has also amassed a significant following on social media, where his supporters have cheered him on through the emotional ups and downs of his journey.
During his amazing odyssey, he has been chased by bulls and met Princess Anne, he’s slept in church doorways, sheep sheds and bird hides and visited over 200 lifeboat stations.
It was after the passing of his father, Sir Raymond Ellis at Christmas in 2013 that Alex decided to go on the journey of a lifetime.
His father had spent much of his life dedicated to charity work and fundraising, which spurred Alex on.
Alex said: "My dad's ultimate stubbornness against what seemed to be a never ending cycle of illness, pain, operations and setbacks will always be a very personal inspiration to me.
"I started off thinking about £10,000 then £20,000 then £50,000.
"I suppose reaching this target shows how well supported the RNLI is by the people, places and communities I've walked through, especially when for many people money is tight."
The trip has had its ups and downs, however, and the crew at Falmouth helped him through a particularly rough patch, Alex says.
He said: "The loneliness gets you down sometimes.
"When I first entered Cornwall, I was in a really low place.
"There’s a train station in Falmouth, so I decided that I was going to get to Falmouth and quit.
"I walked for 3 or 4 days, pretty much non-stop and at times overnight, to get to Falmouth, because that’s where I was going to quit.
"And then I got to Falmouth, and the crew there were awesome.
"They were nice people, and they made me a cup of tea after four days’ walking and it put me back on a high.
"So it really is the crew that keep me going.
"RNLI lifeboat crew volunteers save an average of 23 lives at sea every single day.
"In my opinion, they’re heroes.
"They put themselves right in the thick of what is Britain’s most unforgiving environment – our sea.
"They receive no government funding for their work and the majority of lifeboat crew are volunteers."
For Alex's fundraising page, click here.
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