Matt puts his blistered feet forward for friend Becky


There are friends in need and there are friends indeed, and one of each has led to an unusual fundraising effort. Matt Hannah of Sandown has been friends since childhood with 28-year-old Becky Wall, the young mum left with serious injuries after a hit and run car accident. He wanted to help raise funds for Becky and her daughter, so he decided to walk around the Island. Nothing too unusual there, except that he decided to do it barefoot!

The 31-year-old said: “It was a challenge to myself. I wanted to raise some money, so I decided to think out of the box. I kept to the coastline and the coastal footpath as much as I could. The tides caused some problems, but I just found a way through and kept on walking.”

The intrepid walker must have some Hobbit genes, as having taken a week off work he managed the 67 miles in just five days. The best thing about the walk he says was the sense of achievement, one day managing 16 miles in nine hours from The Needles to Cowes and he ended the day feeling elated. He also discovered many ‘amazing bays’ along the way and was particularly taken by Newtown Creek.

He didn’t meet a massive number of people along the way, but those he did bump into invariably asked where his shoes were, and many ended up making donations when they heard the reason he was striding unshod around the Island.

“The worst part?” He said without hesitation. “Walking on tarmac, definitely. Stony footpaths aren’t so painful when your feet are already numb.”

He filmed the entire walk on his Go-Pro camera and is waiting for a mainland friend to give him a crash course in video-editing so that Becky can see what he’s been up to. Becky ‘has an inkling’ of what her friend has achieved already, but her brother Jason will be filling her in with more details this weekend.

His poor, battered feet are getting a bit better, and he’s had two foot massages since the end of his trek. He added: “They do still hurt, I’m not going to lie, but it’s all worth it for such a great cause.”

So far his efforts have raised over £800 and he is leaving his GoFundMe page up until at least the end of the month as some people have said they will donate when they get paid.
Any help from Observer readers towards hitting his target of £1,000 for his friend in need would be ‘massively appreciated’ by a true friend indeed!

You can donate at https://www.gofundme.com/f/f5cx3p-walk-the-rock