A former soldier is expected to arrive in Skegness in the coming days as part of his epic trek around the British coastline, raising awareness about the plight of homeless ex-forces personnel.
Christian Nock, 39, has battled extreme conditions, personal hardship and debilitating illnesses during the 3,500 miles he has covered so far - but says he can’t wait to arrive in Skegness.
“I’m not kidding, I’m really looking forward to Skegness,” he said.
“I’m from the Midlands and all my mates used to go there on holiday but I’ve never been before so I’m going to spend a while taking a look around.”
The brave serviceman set out on his epic expedition on August 8 last year to raise funds for Help For Heroes while highlighting the plight of homelessness faced by many former soldiers.
Having slept rough on the streets of Blackpool, Christian is all too aware of the horrors many of his comrades face when returning from duty to the country they put their lives on the line for.
“I had pretty much given up on the system, humanity and everything - I came close to killing myself,” he said.
“But the people that I’ve met along the way who have offered me food and a place for the night have restored my faith - I can’t get my head round it.”
To remain true to his cause, Christian has rejected offers of a bed for a night, preferring instead to find shelter in bus stations, churches or shop doors - he even shared a cave with a seal on one occasion.
“My favourite night’s sleep was St Govan’s Chapel in Pembrokeshire which was built into the cliff face,” he said.
Faced with the enormity of his 6,500 mile challenge, Christian said he has had to focus on each day as it comes to remain positive.
“I only worry about what I’m doing from one day to the next because if I look any further ahead it’s enough to make you cry,” he said.
“I threw my map away after the first few days because it was too daunting to see all that I had left.”
During his journey, Christian has battled subzero temperatures, gale force winds and blizzards. He’s faced injury, illness and been robbed while sleeping rough but he’s also enjoyed some life-affirming experiences and made significant achievements towards his goal.
“Some of the things I’ve seen have been amazing and I keep on ticking things off my bucket list,” he said.
Christian has already raised a phenomenal £80,000 for charity - far exceeding his initial target of £10,000 and has also inspired politicians to help the homeless troops whose plight he had been campaigning for.
Only this week, Great Yarmouth Town Council has pledged to open a foodbank for the homeless as a result of his visit. And his efforts have motivated many other fundraising efforts across the county.
Christian was last night camped in a garden shed on Norfolk coast, hoping to arrive in Skegness within the week.
To offer Christian food, a shower or somewhere to camp, visit his Facebook page ‘Christian Around Britain - Support Page’. You can also donate here