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Alex Ellis-Roswell to return to Minnis Bay more than three years after setting out on fundraising walk for RNLI

By Katie Davis

It's been a long time coming, but after more than three years of walking, 24-year-old Alex is on the home straight of his walk around the UK coastline to pay tribute to his dad and raise money for the RNLI.

Alex Ellis-Roswell set off from Minnis Bay all those years ago to walk around British and Irish coastlines, and will return to that very spot on Saturday - where his family, friends, supporters and local lifeboat crew will be waiting to greet him.

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, visited over 200 lifeboat stations – and raised more than £62,000 for the lifesaving charity so far.

Alex set out more than three years ago. Pic: RNLI
Alex set out more than three years ago. Pic: RNLI

Even in just the past month, he has walked inland along the Thames to visit the four stations which lie along it - Gravesend, Teddington, Chiswick and Tower.

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.

Alex has visited more than 200 lifeboat stations on his journey. Pic: RNLI
Alex has visited more than 200 lifeboat stations on his journey. Pic: RNLI

"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."

Alex has now set his sight high with a target of £95,000, which represents £10 for every mile he has walked.

Alex said: "I'm excited to be so close to finishing and raising a great sum for the RNLI and its volunteers."

He started his journey on Sunday, August 3 2014 with an aim to raise as much money as possible for the charity.

He left his job, gave notice on his flat and walked out with only what he carried on his back.

He aims to raise £95,000 for the RNLI. Pic: RNLI
He aims to raise £95,000 for the RNLI. Pic: RNLI

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.

His route has taken took him clockwise around Britain and Ireland, including the Isle of Man, the Western and Northern Isles.

Alex remains diplomatic and refuses to name a favourite station.

He will return to Minnis Bay on Saturday. Pic: RNLI
He will return to Minnis Bay on Saturday. Pic: RNLI

But 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.

He has already raised more than £60,000. Pic: RNLI
He has already raised more than £60,000. Pic: RNLI

"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."

You can join the final stages of Alex’s journey by visiting his Facebook page or by following him on Twitter.

For Alex's fundraising page, click here.

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