East London charity worker walks 192 miles across the UK for charity

Miriam Lantsbury

Miriam Lantsbury - Credit: Archant

Most people celebrate an 18th year with drinks and dancing, but one woman decided to mark 18 years at the helm of a Hackney charity by walking 192 miles across the UK.

Walking six miles home from work and climbing hundreds of Tube station stairs, instead of using the lifts, are just some of the ways Miriam Lantsbury trained for the epic Coast-to-Coast challenge, raising thousands for her charity at the same time.

Mrs Lantsbury, 55, chief executive of brain injury survivors’ charity, Headway East London, in Haggerston, said: “My sister-in-law turned 50 this year and she asked her friends and family to accompany her on this walk.

“The reason I said yes was because I have never challenged myself to do anything like this before and I thought it would be good to do something to push myself physically. I have been at Headway for years and I have only done little bits of fundraising and minor challenges, so I thought after 18 years, it was time I did something significant.”

Despite suffering with severe back pain for the first week, Mrs Lantsbury, along with three friends, completed the expedition, which entailed 15 days of walking across mountains, valleys and fields, and one rest day.

She said: “The first week I was in a lot of pain and taking tablets every two hours; because of the pain I had to miss two days and I am very disappointed I had to miss them. I am going to go back and do them next year.

“But on our rest day I had a massage which sorted me out and I was able to finish the whole thing.”

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Mrs Lantsbury added it was good to discover new places and beautiful scenery along the way.

She said: “We were staying in a mixture of very basic accommodation, like a mattress and sleeping bag in a cow shed, to nice bed and breakfasts and everything in between.

“You have a lot of time to take in the scenery and during the day if there are pubs, cafés or tea rooms along the way you get quite excited. I certainly saw places that I had never seen before and would love to go back and explore a bit more.”

Originally intending to raise £3,500 for Headway, Mrs Lansbury expects to smash her target.

“We are coming up to £3,500 now,” she said. And she’s still counting.

“My colleagues have been really supportive, sharing on social media and sponsoring me.

“I’m just really pleased to have done it and to be able to raise the money – it was an amazing experience and it does help you appreciate that if you are faced with a challenge you can rise to it.

“The people that we work with here have to fight their way back from so much, learning to walk, talk and eat and it’s amazing how resilient we are as human beings.”

For more, visit: Headway East LondonTo sponsor Miriam, click here