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Is marathon man first to walk entirety of Cornwall?

05 September 2022 chsw Fundraising

Cornishman, Rotarian and Children’s Hospice South West (CHSW) supporter Stephen Lay has recently completed his two year, 1,000 mile mission of walking around the entirety of Cornwall unsupported, just two years after having a heart attack and recovering from bowel cancer.

Map showing Stephen's miles walking around Cornwall
Many have walked the 295 mile coastal footpath around the county, but in addition Stephen has also tackled the 180 miles around the tidal estuaries as well as the 64 mile non-tidal length of the River Tamar and on to the Devon Cornwall border on the north coast. All of his walks were unsupported, meaning that at the end of each section he had to walk back to where he started – doubling his miles, and the big question is whether he is the first to complete this mileage? 

Stephen says; “I’m on record saying ‘I don’t see the point of walking’! I do now! I’m a local lad, but I’m only now realising how beautiful Cornwall is. We are a blessed county, one needs to get only a short way from the carpark to see things that are out of this world, and placed here in Cornwall! 

The South West Coast Path is a fantastic asset that should be treasured. After many hundreds of miles I thought I would be ‘wowed out’, but I have yet to walk a new stretch and not have a new ‘wow’ experience.”

Stephen’s challenge doesn’t stop there, the 67 year old is swapping his interest in mining to marathons as he takes on running the London Marathon on 2 October and aims to raise £25,000 for CHSW by doing so.

Photograph of Stephen's late wife Carol Lay
His efforts are in support of the Carol Lay Memorial Fund; set up in memory of his wife and to raise funds to provide support for the siblings of children that use Little Harbour children’s hospice in St Austell, just a stone’s throw from Carol and Stephen’s home. Since Carol died in 2017 Stephen, family and supporters have raised over £54,000. 

Carol was passionate about supporting CHSW and the build of Little Bridge House children’s hospice in Barnstaple and then Little Harbour children’s hospice in St Austell. She was a special needs teacher and counselled many students in her career who had life-limiting illnesses and she knew just how much children like them would benefit from the service CHSW would provide at its hospices.  

Stephen said;

I’m doing these challenges to get fit and stay alive, and to keep Carol’s name alive.  

Carol always said; ‘when I recover from cancer I’m going to volunteer at Little Harbour’. How proud she would be to know of the work continuing in her name and all the siblings being supported by CHSW through very difficult times in their lives. Children’s Hospice South West gives them happy memories to last a lifetime”.

Eddie Farwell, Co-Founder and CEO of CHSW, said; ”The support that both Stephen and Carol have shown to CHSW over the years is so greatly appreciated and will have had such a positive impact on so many children and families. I congratulate Stephen on completing his 1,000 miles and wish him the very best of luck for next month’s London marathon.”

If you would like to support Stephen with his challenges please click here to find out more or donate.