Ex-soldier completes virtual walk

Dr John Euers during his virtual walk at the Gregson.
Dr John Euers during his virtual walk at the Gregson.

Cheering crowds and bagpipes brought home an injured ex-soldier on the final mile of a ‘virtual’ walk.

Dr John Euers, 67, completed the last leg of his 98.8-mile take on The West Highland Way – pounding a treadmill at the Gregson Centre on Moorgate, Lancaster.

It has taken 17 days in total – four quicker than planned – at a steady pace of six miles a day.

The former soldier in the Scots Guards, who once tried out for the SAS, was left barely able to walk after a head-on car crash 12 years ago which means even walking the mile-and-half from his home on the Ridge Estate to the Gregson Centre is a challenge.

But he decided to do the walk to help raise money for an emergency £30,00 appeal to fix the roof of the Gregson – the community and arts centre of which he is a proud member.

Dr Euers said afterwards: “It was a bit overwhelming really. I was wearing a kilt for the last mile and the place was heaving, pipers were playing and it certainly added to the atmosphere. The night was brilliant, it really felt like the community had come out.”

Billy Pye, chairman of the Gregson Community Association, presented him with a vegetarian haggis and special certificate commemorating the hike.

And Dr Euers, who has worked at The Dukes and the Butterfly House in Williamson Park, hasn’t ruled out doing another walk including Paris To Calais, utilising a rowing machine, static bike and treadmill.

He said: “I’m up for it.”

Graeme Bond, manager of the Gregson Centre, said: “It was quite emotional. It was packed and they were all whooping and cheering. We joked that he could walk back to the beginning because that’s where the car was parked!”

Menswear company Greenwoods donated a kilt and sporran and tots of Whisky were on hand. A treadmill was especially drafted into the cafe bar area and an ordnance survey map of the actual route charted his progress on the wall.

Dr Euers, a doctor in political philosophy and women’s studies, is a member of the Gregson and expects to raise over £1,000.

You can give at the Gregson or online at www.sponsor-me.org/jeuers/westhway.