A Raynes Park carpenter is disappointed and let down after returning home early from an 800-mile trek through Japan for charity.
Ricky Bunton, 28, of Haynt Walk, embarked on his solo hike starting in Fukuoka on February 21 to raise money for Over the Wall, but was sadly forced to return home injured last Sunday.
He planned to walk to Tokyo in 60 days but could only manage 250 miles, finishing in Nagoya, after believing to have caused himself a hernia in the process.
Mr Bunton said: “I was unable to carry on. I covered 250 miles but just couldn’t go any further, I put too much strain on my body.
“My feet were killing me and I damaged my back slipping on a wooden bridge early on my first morning.
“I also believe I have given myself a hernia just under my right rib cage.
“I was in pain right from the first day but carried on regardless, however I feel like I’ve let myself and the charity down.”
Mr Bunton had planned to raise £1,500 for Over the Wall, the UK branch of late actor Paul Newman’s Serious Fun Children’s Network, who offer free camps to seriously ill children and their families.
Despite raising just £285 of his target, he is sure the money will go a long way to giving ill children a chance to go on trips they wouldn’t usually be able to.
He said: “I know the money will go a long way, just under £300 will help a lot.
“It could be 30 kids being able to go swimming when they normally wouldn’t be able to do or 15 kids going horse riding.
“There are so many other activities the money can go towards, which gives every single kid an experience they normally wouldn’t have.”
STANDING TALL: Mr Bunton got to see Osaka Castle on his trip
Mr Bunton camped out when visiting the smaller towns in Japan and stayed in hostels while in the bigger cities.
He said: “Camping was fine but I had to stay in hostels in the bigger cities where all the ground was hard concrete.
“It was very difficult food wise because I am a very strict vegan but I did eat meat, dairy and all kinds of things because sometimes you just have to adapt to their way of life.
“The Japanese people are the nicest I have ever met, they go out their way to help you and give you information any way they can.
“I really enjoyed it, I would love to go back to Japan but not in the same capacity.
“In the end it was just too much. I’m disappointed in myself that I didn’t finish it and to the people who sponsored me I feel like I’ve let them down as well.”
Mr Bunton chose to walk through Japan because he felt he needed a challenge and change in his life, and although he didn’t complete the walk, the trip was still a positive experience.
He said: “I realised I was 28 and needed to do something with my life and the trip was a great way to get away from everything.
“It was still a great trip and achieved what I wanted it to personally but I still feel bad for not finishing.
“Now I will have some time off work and perhaps set up a small business in the future, you never know.”
Images courtesy of Ricky Bunton, with thanks