Former postman Eddie Drury – who plumped for early retirement last month – has just returned from a different and more difficult type of footslogging. Walking 135 kilometres for charity through the tortuous Pyrenees for the Southern Area Hospice.
He raised a stunning £5,500 for his cherished charity. The five-day walk was the second phase of a five-year plan by the charity foot soldier.
Last year – on the first phase of the Camino de Santiago Charity walk - he lifted £6,500 from friends and businesses in the Portadown area.
The entire walk is 890 kilometres, and Eddie’s efforts so far have covered about 40 per cent of the steep up-and-down mountains that separate France and Spain. And it was all done in temperatures hitting the 30-degrees mark – even up to 34.
“It was tough going,” he said. “Hundreds from all over the world were there, for various charity reasons – six from Northern Ireland. They came from Canada, Korea, France, Germany, Spain…”
There was a Spanish woman on a donkey (covering the entire 890km) and there had been a murder a day or two earlier on the walk.
“We heard the devastating news en route,” said Eddie. “Apparently she was an American student, and a Frenchman in his 30s had been arrested and charged.”
The scenery was stunning – “unbelievable” - and they stayed in hotels en route, all planned by the hospice, and the Ulster Six raised around £30,000.
“It’s a terrific charity, costing £6,500 a day to run, and they only get one-third of their funding from government sources,” said Eddie.
He thanked everyone who supported him – sponsors and individuals – and he warns everyone he will be back next year!
Meanwhile, he’ll be treading the boards as a Dame after Christmas, as Mother Goose, the title role in the Gateway pantomime in the Town Hall.