ALMOST 500 miles and many blisters later, a member of the House of Lords arrived in Enniskillen yesterday after walking from Downing Street in London to the Lough Erne as part of a massive fundraiser.
A relieved but exhausted Michael Bates made Enniskillen part of the last leg of his epic journey to mark the town playing host to the G8 Summit in June.
Aiming to raise over £50,000 for Save the Children, the walk has taken almost 45 days ending on the anniversary of the closing day of the Paralympics.
Speaking to the Fermanagh Herald, Lord Bates said: “It’s great to have finally arrived in Enniskillen today, the sun is out so I’m taking a few hours break before I set off on my final leg of the journey through Omagh and on to Derry.
The 52-year-old said: “Enniskillen has been fantastic, there’s great hospitality here and everyone has been very friendly.
“The owner of the motel I’m staying in took me to a pub where we enjoyed great Irish music and food.
“It is quite amazing here and the most significant thing that stands out about Enniskillen is that the G8 has changed peoples’ minds about the town and the place.
“It’s a very lively place and has incredible history and culture.
“I was suppose to finish in Enniskillen but I miscalculated the miles so I now have to go to Omagh and finish up in Derry.
“I have just completed 460.01 miles and people have sponsored me for 500 miles so I have to keep to my word.
“I decided to stop off here because of the G8 Summit in June, I’m raising money for Syria and there was a lot of pledges made about what they would do for them and some of them haven’t all honoured their pledge.
“I hope that by completing this long journey, I can raise more as the need is so great and the time is so short.”
He aims to raise over £50,000 for Save the Children, helping to provide life-saving support to Syria’s child refugees.
So far his walk has raised over £27,000.
In Syria, 900,000 children have been forced to flee their homes amid the ongoing fighting.
Many have experienced horrific violence and the death of loved ones.
Save the Children is working to help provide these children with vital humanitarian aid, as well as safe places where they can play, learn and begin to recover.
To follow the progress of the walk, visit www.walkforsyriaschildren.org where Lord Bates will be posting blogs and photos of his challenge.
Follow on Twitter @bateslord. To make a donation, visit his Just Giving page at justgiving.com/LordBates.
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