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Alex Ellis-Roswell visits Sheppey as part of three-year British Isles fundraising trek for RNLI

By Chloe Holmwood

A fearless fundraiser walking the entire UK and Irish coast to raise money for the RNLI reached Sheppey this week – more than three years after he started his mission.

Alex Ellis-Roswell set off on his 9,500-mile walk from Minnis Bay on August 3, 2014 – eight months after his father, Ray, who dedicated much of his life to charities, died.

The 24-year-old, who lived near Canterbury before he set off, has visited every RNLI lifeboat station in the UK and Ireland and has raised more than £62,000 for the charity that saves lives at sea.

Alex Ellis-Roswell with the Sheerness RNLI crew
Alex Ellis-Roswell with the Sheerness RNLI crew

Setting off in a clockwise direction, with the Margate RNLI station being his first port of call, Alex walked along the coast down to the tip of Cornwall and then headed north, doing a circuit of the Republic of Ireland and Northern Ireland along the way.

Back on the mainland, he headed around Scotland and up to the Shetland Islands, where he visited the country’s most northerly RNLI station at Aith – which is nearer to Norway than London.

He continued down the east coast, through Sittingbourne and arrived at the Sheerness station at 4.30pm on Friday, where he was met by operations manager Nigel Budden.

Alex set off from Minnis Bay on August 3, 2014
Alex set off from Minnis Bay on August 3, 2014

He said: "It was great to meet Alex after having kept track of his epic journey since 2014, in which time he has visited 233 of the RNLI's lifeboat stations.

"I would also like to take this opportunity to thank Kevin Burgess and his staff at The Royal Hotel in Sheerness for providing Alex with food and accommodation for the duration of his time on the Island and also to the many RNLI supporters locally who made him so welcome."

Alex said: "I'd really like to say a huge thanks to everyone on Sheppey who helped me.

"I was overwhelmed with messages of support – it certainly restores your faith in humanity."

Alex outside The Royal Hotel, Sheerness, where he stayed whilst on Sheppey
Alex outside The Royal Hotel, Sheerness, where he stayed whilst on Sheppey

After two days well-earned rest, Alex revisited the Sheerness boathouse, where he was able to meet the crew and was given a run out on the all-weather lifeboat, the George and Ivy Swanson.

From there, he set off on the final leg of his journey with a walk around the Island and then on to the last lifeboat station on his list at Whitstable, where he was hoping to arrive tomorrow before returning to his starting point at Minnis Bay on Saturday - where his family, friends, supporters and local lifeboat crew will be waiting to greet him.

You can join the final stages of Alex’s journey by visiting his Facebook page.

For Alex's fundraising page, click here.

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