Dan McNeil, walking the UK coastline for SSAFA, the Armed Forces charity has completed his personal odyssey after nearly 9,000 miles and almost three years on the move.
The former Gunner ended his walk on Sandyhills Beach on November 18 a very different man to the one who stepped off the same beach on his long walk home.
Dan was greeted and accompanied by nearly 100 well-wishers and supporters as he crossed the line on the Dumfries and Galloway beach, having raised more than his £30,000-target for SSAFA – money that will help fund the charity’s life-changing and even life-saving work for veterans and serving personnel, and their families.
Speaking to BBC Scotland, an elated Dan – a SSAFA beneficiary himself – described crossing the line as “surreal”, adding:
“It was quite emotional seeing the finishing line, but yes, I’m glad it’s finished and I’m looking to something different to waking up in a tent and doing 20 miles in a day.”
Talking to SSAFA and the crowd at Sandyhills Beach, Dan said:
“it’s wonderful to see so many faces of people I recognise during what’s probably been the best and the hardest two years and seven months of my life.
“But I’m looking forward to the future and passing on my wisdom and knowledge hopefully inspiring as many people as possible.”
This, said Dan, could include a book and possibly a website to help people with their own mental health issues.
Although Dan’s quest has ended, donations can still be made to help men and women like him. To support SSAFA, the UK’s oldest tri-service charity, visit justgiving.com/fundraising/danwalksuk.
For more information, visit ssafa.org.uk.