Chris Walks the UK
1539. Chris Lewis
Chris Lewis, from Gower, is a former paratrooper who is walking the entire coastline of the UK with his dog Jet in aid of SSAFA, the Armed Forces charity which supported him when he was homeless, so far raising over £170,000.
Chris began his challenge in August 2017 from Llangennith beach on the Gower Peninsula with just £10 in his pocket and a few days supplies, and rescued Jet along the way. They are currently covering the Scottish coastline, and when lockdown restrictions came into force in March 2020, spent the entire period self-isolating on the remote, uninhabited island of Hildasay, a 108-hectare island west from the Shetland mainland, where Chris collected driftwood for fuel, and foraged and fished for food.
In a personal letter to Chris, Prime Minister Boris Johnson said:
“Every day I thank somebody for their service to others by making them a Point of Light. You have served our nation in the Armed Forces and now your mission is to highlight the importance of mental health assistance for brave veterans like yourself.
“With your trusted companion, Jet the dog, you have already covered a huge swathe of Britain’s coastline and raised over £170,000 for SSAFA. As we mark Giving Tuesday, I am sure your fundraising efforts will go from strength to strength!”
Sir Andrew Gregory, Chief Executive of SSAFA, the Armed Forces charity, said:
“After his service in the Parachute Regiment, SSAFA was able to help Chris and his daughter during a difficult period. Chris’ desire to put something back into the charity is humbling and what he, with Jet as company, have achieved is phenomenal. The fact that this has been recognised with a Prime Minister’s UK daily Points of Light award is a testament both to his dedication and also to the difference the amazing sum of money he has raised will make to those in the Armed Forces community who need some support. Thank you and many congratulations from all of us at SSAFA.”
“Today I received a letter from 10 Downing Street! The Prime Minister congratulated me on winning a Points Of Light award. Totally out of the blue, I was made up.”