A DETERMINED Pershore teenager who put his best foot forward for a gruelling 12-day, 200-mile trek across the breadth of Scotland has raised more than £1,000 for needy pets.
Ben Atkin, 14, walked from Portpatrick on the west coast to Cockburnspath on the east coast of Scotland accompanied by his father Ian to raise £1,700 for Blue Cross pet charity – a cause close to Ben’s heart.
The determined duo covered up to 30 miles each day in driving rain and wind over bogs, moors and mountains to complete the trek.
Despite only completing the challenge last Saturday, kind-hearted Ben was back at the Blue Cross’ charity shop on Pershore’s High Street on Tuesday to volunteer.
The teenager, who has volunteered with Blue Cross for the past year, helps with sorting out donated stock, filling shelves and checking DVDs and computer games for damage before they go on sale. He even steps in to wear heavy pet mascot costumes on shop open days.
Speaking after returning from the challenge, Ben said: “It was hard going but enjoyable too. We hit some bad weather during the week with the rain turning some of the land into a bog but it relented and brightened up during the last couple of days.
“One of the toughest parts of the walk was the 26 miles from St Johns Town of Dalry to Sanquhar. A total climb of 5,000 feet. The weather was biting and the terrain incredibly hard going.
“I’m so thankful to everybody who has supported us and donated online. The support we’ve had has been incredible.”
Ian Atkin, Ben’s father, said: “The challenge has been incredible. It’s been exhausting, fun, painful and on occasion even a little scary. Although I’ll be pleased to stop walking, I’ll miss the spectrum of emotions that we’ve been blasted with over the last two weeks.”
Mark Corbett, Blue Cross head of retail, said: “We are all just so proud of Ben. What an achievement.
“He’s gone above and beyond for our pets in need and the money raised will do so much to help the cats, dog, small animals and horses in our care.
“Ben already does so much for Blue Cross by volunteering for us in Pershore. I can’t believe he’s back in the shop just two days after finishing the coast-to-coast walk.
“I’m exhausted just thinking about it! It really is amazing and something he and his family should be so proud of.”
Visit www.justgiving.com/fundraising/ben-atkin1 to donate.