Retired 88-year-old Leyland teacher steps up to complete "millionaire" walking challenge for Christian Aid

Retired geography teacher Ernest Wrennall has taken his love of the great outdoors to an unexpected level.

By Catherine Musgrove
Friday, 25th March 2022, 12:30 pm

The 88-year-old has walked 3.65million steps in just 12 months, raising more than £1,000 for international humanitarian charity Christian Aid.

Ernest, who taught at Penwortham Priory High School until his retirement in 1991, decided to put his best foot forward to help the charity when his usual door-to-door fundraising as a member of Leyland United Reformed Church was stopped as part of coronavirus restrictions.

He said: “In January last year the church heard that a group in another part of the country would be walking 10,000 paces a day throughout May – which is Christian Aid month – trying to reach a total of 300,000 steps.

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Photo Neil Cross; 88 year old Ernest Wrennall from Leyland has walked 10,000 steps every day for a year - 3.65 million steps to raise funds for Christian Aid

"I thought ‘that’s great, but why wait till May?’

"At that point there were 100 days until the end of May, so I thought I’d do 100 lots of 10,000 steps, and try to become a ‘millionaire’.”

At the end of May, Ernest’s daily walks had raised £800 through sponsorship. But, having enjoyed the activity so much, he decided to encorporate it into his daily routine, and as he has yet to miss a 10,000 walk a day. The fundraising has also continued, with an extra £200 being pledged to the charity.

But it wasn’t all pain sailing, with Ernest adding that some days “were a challenge when the weather was particularly unpleasant.”

Photo Neil Cross; 88 year old Ernest Wrennall from Leyland has walked 10,000 steps every day for a year - 3.65 million steps to raise funds for Christian Aid

He added: “Thankfully the support of members from my local church helped me push through.”

The walks, usually around local parks including Worden Park and Cuerden Valley Park, are all recorded on a pedometre, and on the strict instruction of his son, Ernest always wears a high-vis yellow bobble hat and jacket.

He said: “I only ever record the steps when the hat is on, otherwise it’s not official. Steps in the house and around the garden don’t count.”

Christian Aid Week runs from May 15 to 21, and will see the charity raise money for communities vulnerable to the climate crisis. Funds raises will help buy water taps for a community garden, even help build storerooms to store and preserve food.

Photo Neil Cross; 88 year old Ernest Wrennall from Leyland has walked 10,000 steps every day for a year - 3.65 million steps to raise funds for Christian Aid
Photo Neil Cross; 88 year old Ernest Wrennall from Leyland has walked 10,000 steps every day for a year - 3.65 million steps to raise funds for Christian Aid