When Matthew Strange first had an ambitious idea to walk 1720 miles in memory of his beloved step-dad, he never imagined his new obsession would lead to a Guinness World Record attempt and put him touch with people around the world.
For this is no ordinary charity challenge - the 25-year-old from Fulwood will walk the distance from Gibraltar to Preston... barefoot.
Tomorrow, as part of his training, in his attempt to break the world record for the longest walk barefoot, Matt will climb Mount Snowdon in Wales, shoeless, alongside mum Janet Edgerley (in her walking boots)
Barman Matt, who works at the Sherwood pub said: “I have a surname Strange, people think I’m mental but it only makes me more determined, it’s part of the challenge.”
It was on Matt’s travels in South East Asia last year, a trip inspired by step-dad Simon White, he decided to do the charity walk in aid of St Catherine’s Hospice.
It was scrolling through his Facebook he came across the world record for the longest walk barefoot currently held by Irishman Eamonn Keaveney.
“From the age of five I wanted to be in the Guiness World Record book - this is my opportunity.”
The route, across Gibraltar - Spain - France - Belgium and England finishing at the Lostock Hall hospice, set for March 2019, will be a poignant one.
It marks the journey Matt first took in late November 2015 when a call came from home to say Simon, undergoing treatment for colon cancer, had been diagnosed with pneumonia and the family feared the worse. Matt was living in Gibraltar at the time.
He added: “It ended up a nightmare journey. No flights from Gibraltar meant I had to do a complete detour.”
“I did make it back, Simon beat the pneumonia, determined to see his grandaughter's first Christmas and come home. The team at St Catherine’s were a huge part in that.”
Simon did make it to December to see Matt’s niece Ava’s first Christmas.
Simon, 50, was also able to spend his final days at home as he wished and with his family by his side, lost his two year battle with cancer in January 2016.
An experienced deep-sea diver Simon had travelled the world from Africa to Asia with his work and passion.
Matt adds:“He was an amazing man and a huge influence in all our lives
“One of the things he said through his own battle even though he was only 50, he had, had a life lived. That’s stayed with me.”
Matt’s training so far has seen him climb Scafell Pike as well as barefoot hikes to Blackburn and Blackpool.
He is filming the journeys for his youtube channel www.youtube.com/MrMatthewStrange
To sponsor Matt’s challenge visit www.justgiving.com/MrMatthewStrange and follow his journey at www.facebook.com/MrMatthewStrange