Seven friends wanted to put themselves in the shoes of children fleeing war in Ukraine by walking the same distance many have endured to cross the border into Poland.
Their 30-mile trek along the Trent and Mersey and Macclesfield canals has raised more than £1,000 for Unicef UK and will be used to buy emergency water and hygiene kits for families whose lives have been shattered following Russia’s invasion.
The group of friends, led by Katie Cox, walked along the waterways from Sandbach to Bollington in 10 and a half hours, clocking up 58,000 steps.
They decided to hike 30 miles as it represented the distance some refugees have walked from Ukraine to the Polish border as they left their war-torn country behind.
The town of Medyka is just inside Poland, 85 kilometres from Ukraine’s western city of Lviv and is the largest crossing point for refugees.
Miss Cox, who lives in Sandbach, said: “We saw that children in Ukraine were walking so far – they must have been so tired.
“We have all just been really shocked by what we have seen on the news. We wanted to walk in their shoes as far as possible – but they didn’t have proper walking boots and didn’t know where they were ending up.”
Posting on the group’s Just Giving page following the canal walk, she said: “We did it! Ten and a half hours and 58,000 steps later – 30 miles are in the bag. Lots of blisters, ripped shoes and sandwich stops, but we made it to the finish line.
“We’re so grateful to everyone who’s sponsored us. Every £46 raised could provide a family with an emergency water and hygiene kit.
“Thanks again for all of your support – every penny will help Unicef’s response at the bordering countries of Ukraine, helping to keep children safe who are fleeing the ongoing violence.”
Donations can still be made online at justgiving.com/fundraising/walking-for-ukraine.