Lester Murphy (above left), a British military veteran walked the Oxfordshire Way from Bourton on the Water in Gloucestershire and finished at The Angel on the Bridge (66 miles) on Saturday lunchtime raising money for The Royal Army Ordnance Corp/Vehicle Specialist Fellowship (VSF).
He started the walk on Wednesday morning and walked around 7-8 hours a day covering around 17 miles. Lester is not new to walking fundraising challenges, last year he walked the Thames footpath (100 miles) with five colleagues. His friends encouraged him to do another walk but with most of them in their seventies they left this challenge to Lester. Although he has moved away from Ewelme Park near Nettlebed to the Cotswolds, Lester is still a member of the Henley & Peppard Royal British Legion branch.
Asked whether he trained for the walk, Lester replied, “I’m known to many as the ‘Happy Gardener’ so I can spend up to 4-5 hours mowing the lawn so I didn’t feel I need to do any more training!” Lester was supported by Brian Wild who met him at different points with food and drink and drove him to and from his accommodation and back to the start points each day. Emma Wicks walked with Lester on Saturday starting from Adwell. Lester commented, “It was great to have Emma along to keep me company. Thursday was a low day but the rest of the time I’ve enjoyed the pleasure of being on my own enjoying the tranquillity, the flora and the wildlife.”
Stuart Davies, Chairman of the VSF said, “It’s a great feet, done by another old codger in the strong tradition of the VSF. We are immensely proud that he was joined today by Emma and that they have raised over £2,000. It will go towards the good and benefit VSF which will pay for entertainment for functions they put on, sponsor someone, or help someone who is on hard times.”
On the way Lester has met many people and some of which made donations to the cause. He said, “I met Roger with a setter, a couple of lads who were landscapers, another lady asked if I was still in the military (I offered her a pair of glasses!) and a couple of people in a lay-by. They really kept me going along with my military determination. I set a total of £1,000 and I’m already over £2,000. I’m so proud. I feel elated and really happy that my family are here and Stuart has come from Staffordshire today to be with us. Brian is from Southampton and he’s been such a valuable asset supporting me over the last few days. I’m blown away.”
Lester was joined by his grandchildren Ruby and Anna and they enjoyed a round of drinks which were kindly provided by Mark Dunlop at The Angel.
If you would like to donate to the Lester’s cause, you can go to https://www.justgiving.com/crowdfunding/lester-murphy