RNLI fundraiser and his dog set off on 6,000-mile walk
An RNLI supporter aims to raise £500,000 for the lifesaving charity by walking over 6,000 miles with his pooch Monty, the Staffordshire Bull Terrier, by his side.
Tim Jones aims to visit all 192 UK RNLI lifeboat stations during his epic journey, which could take up to four years.
Jones took his first steps on Friday (20 January 2023), leaving Exmouth Lifeboat Station in Devon in freezing temperatures.
Jones says: “It’s going to be hard work. I’ve done a lot of walking in the past – weeks here and there – but nothing on this scale.
“I’m not sure how Monty’s going to do just yet, but I don’t think he’ll struggle – he’s got a lot more energy than I have, but I’ll just have to take it easy on him and see how he goes.”
Jones says he recently fell on hard times, unable to find work and facing eviction, so he decided to fulfil his dream of walking the coast.
“I’ve wanted to do this walk for a few years and now the time’s just right,” he says. “It’s a big decision, but it’s motivating me that I’m not just doing it for myself.
“The fact that I’m raising money for the lifeboats is pushing me to do it.
“I’ve always loved being by the sea and admired the difficult work of the RNLI, so choosing a charity to support was easy. The fact that its volunteers go out in all conditions to save people is amazing, and I just wanted to give something back.”
Jones believes he and Monty could be on the move for up to four years, and packing for such a long trip has proved to be a challenge in itself.
“I’m trying to keep the weight of the pack down, but I’ve struggled. When I first tried it was 30kg but that wouldn’t have worked, so I’ve stripped it back to the bare essentials, and that’s without dog food – and mine,” says Jones.
RNLI fundraising director Jayne George says: “The commitment of RNLI supporters never ceases to amaze me, but Tim and his canine companion have taken it to a new level.
“His challenge to walk 6,000 miles and visit every single lifeboat station en route is brave and inspiring. Thank you, Tim, we are all rooting for you.”