Matt Wallace, Cancer Charity Walker, Arrives In Land's End

Matt Wallace Lands End

PA/The Huffington Post   First Posted: 11/03/2012 07:51 Updated: 11/03/2012 07:51

A man who embarked on a charity walk covering the length and breadth of Britain has completed his journey from John O'Groats to Land's End - via Belfast.

Matt Wallace, who gave up his job and home on his 30th birthday, visited all 16 Cancer Research UK centres in his challenge, dubbed "Where's Wallace?"

Shortly after he crossed the finish line - joined by his friends and family - yesterday, he said about the unusual route that "nobody has ever been to John O'Groats to Land's End via Belfast - but I have".

The ambitious walker took on the challenge to promote the life-saving work conducted by the centres as well as raising as much money as possible for them.

The former Nottingham Trent University press officer has now raised £20,332.09.

"I'm hugely pleased," Mr Wallace said.

"I had no idea what a challenge like this was worth. It was a case of lots of people have walked from John O'Groats to Land's End, but nobody has ever done it before John O'Groats to Land's End via all 16 cancer research UK centres, so it is a very convoluted route I have taken.

"When we got to over £10,000 I was really pleased and as we edged towards £20,000 I couldn't be happier. I feel really proud to have raised so much money."

Mr Wallace set off from John O'Groats in September last year with just a rucksack and pop-up tent and walked 1,500 miles over six months, visiting the research centres and documenting his progress.

He said the support he had along the way, from both the public and a celebrity following, has pushed him through the rough times.

"I'm walking about with a big shaggy beard on my face, a huge oversize rucksack and a flag flying out the back - and people are naturally inquisitive, and wonder who is this guy and what's he doing?

"Everyone I have met has been really kind and offered to go on the website or are literally handing me money in the street."

Along the route he has received both criticism and support for his beard - which he has not shaved since September. It will now be offered up on eBay for a last fundraising attempt.

Mayor of London Boris Johnson, boxer David Haye, singer Pixie Lott and comedian Stephen Merchant have all lent their support to Mr Wallace's campaign.

And when comedian and musician Tim Minchin tweeted his followers to look at the "Where's Wallace" website it had an unexpected outcome.

"So overwhelming was the response that it completely fried my website," Mr Wallace said.

"My tech guy was ringing me up saying: 'What the hell have you done? There's 20,000 people in the space of about 10 minutes that have just tried to log on to the website.'

"It just killed it, unfortunately, but things like that have been quite quirky and really helped."

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