Couple trek along Appalachian Trail in USA for Princess Alice Hospice

Couple trek along Appalachian Trail in USA for Princess Alice Hospice

Couple trek along Appalachian Trail in USA for Princess Alice Hospice

First published in News This Is Local London: Photograph of the Author by , Reporter

A couple who walked the Appalachian Trail for Princess Alice Hospice return home to Twickenham today.

Chef Harry Whittingham and girlfriend Fran Matthews, a musician and writer, are among 3,000 people who have hiked the famous 2,185 mile-long trail this year.

The couple's adventure took in the length of the historic scenic trail north from Springer Mountain in Georgia to Mount Katahdin in Maine.

After completing the trail, Mr Whittingham posted on Facebook: "After 169 days, blood, sweat, tears, lightning storms, knee deep snow, torrential rain, hundreds of climbs and one hell of a good time we summited the mighty Katahdin at 9.30am this morning [August 26].

"Thank you everyone who has made this journey so special.

"Words can't describe how proud I am of our 2185.3 miles, of hitting every white blaze and of doing every single step together."

The pair put their careers on hold for six months in their bid to complete the gruelling challenge and raise money in memory of Mr Whittingham's late father, Chris, who died in 2012 after a five-year battle with cancer.

Mr Whittingham's brother, Dan, said: "My father was a selfless and unique man who inspired everyone including Harry and Fran to follow their dreams.

"This is their way of doing something in memory of dad and supporting the charity that helped our family.

"Dad fought cancer with superhuman positivity, and thanks to the Princess Alice Hospice, he was able to pass away at home in peace."

The late Mr Whittingham was a trained doctor who worked as an actor and, later in life, led worship at United Reformed Churches across south London.

His funeral at Twickenham United Reformed Church, near Twickenham Green, was attended by 200 people.

Mr Whittingham and Miss Matthews, who have already raised more than £2,600 for Princess Alice Hospice, are expected to return to Twickenham at some point today.

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