A Birchington gym boss and three gym users will be setting out on an 86 mile walk from Buckingham Palace to Thanet this month to raise funds for mental health charity Mind.
Ben Blades, who took over FitUnion gym in January 2022, is joined by Conor Harper, Josh Lowther and Kane Moyse, in the four day challenge setting off on December 20.
The former King Ethelbert’s student said: “On December 20 we will get the 4am train to London and then, setting out from Buckingham Palace, we will walk the 86 miles home.
“We train in the gym anyway and I have been doing a bit of walking but it is more a mental challenge as well as a physical one. We won’t be running it or doing it quickly but have given ourselves four days to do it.
“We are doing it to raise money for Mind. Being in a gym, everyone is very health conscious but I think mental health can be overlooked and it can be such a difficult subject to approach.
“Normally if you are ill you will get some medicine and be cured but with mental health that’s not the case and it is hard to battle things and with therapy having to dig up bad memories and when your hour’s done you are on your own again. That’s part of the struggle that Mind helps with.”
The four friends will split the walk with 25 miles the first day taking them to Bean, 24 miles on day two to Detling, 18 miles on day three to Faversham and the day four will be the 22 miles home.
Ben, 24, said: “We are hoping that on the last day people will meet us at Reculver and walk with us to Birchington. We will be doing updates on the FitUnion facebook page so people can see where we are.”
Ben and the team had set a £1000 fundraising target but have already surpassed that sum.