Barefoot soldier finishes his journey

Major Chris Brannigan’s journey is over.

By Kevin Janiak
Thursday, 13th August 2020, 11:49 am

The barefoot soldier, from Byfleet in Sussex, completed his 700-mile walk to Edinburgh Castle from Land’s End at teatime yesterday, with his daughter Hasti flying into his arms.

Every rock, every pebble on the way, has left its mark on his feet, but it was all worth it to see Hasti, who suffers from Cornelia de Lange syndrome (CdLS), a genetic disorder.

He’s raised more than £500,000, which will go towards gene therapy, which, it is hoped, will allow Hasti, and others like her, to enjoy a more normal life.

Barefoot soldier Chris Brannigan awaits a hug from daughter Hasti in Edinburgh yesterday.

On his way to Lauder, we caught up with him for a quick chat as he approached Ancrum, see video above.

As he reached the finish line, he posted a message to his army of followers on social media: “I’ve been struggling to articulate what this feels like.

“Knowing I no longer have to wake up sweating, in pain, knowing the days will be long and only more painful.

“Knowing that we have raised about £400k from this campaign alone, when we only ever imagined we could make £50k.

Army major Chris Brannigan arrives at Carter Bar bound for Jedburgh on the latest leg of his 700-mile barefoot fundraising walk from Cornwall to Edinburgh, piped into the country by Hawick piper Allan Smith.

“Knowing that we have achieved the overall £400k that we have been struggling for eight long months to get, ever since finding out the cost of the gene therapy treatment – a possibility that we only could have dreamed for when Hasti was diagnosed.

“Knowing that me and my family are so supported and loved by so many kind, generous, amazing people.

“Knowing that the future looks that little bit brighter for us and that hope has turned into a real chance for my girl and all others with CdLS.

“Knowing that I have done all that I possibly could for my little girl. My baby.

Major Chris Brannigan arrives at Bonjedward bound for Lauder, accompanied by young Declan McLean, who also walked equally shoe-less.

“What possible words can sum up this wealth of knowledge?

“I am beyond grateful to all who have made this campaign the success that it has been.

“You all hold a place in my heart, and it is so full right now.”

Chris found plenty of support in the Borders, starting off with being piped into Scotland by Hawick piper Allan Smith.

Crowds lined the streets as he came into Jedburgh, and as he walked the penultimate leg to Lauder he was joined by nine-year-old Jedburgh lad Declan McLean, who also decided to be equally shoeless.

As the entourage walked the A68, drivers stopped to put cash in the collection buckets.

After he reached Lauder, he had to pay a visit to the A&E at the Borders General Hospital, as he had “done something to my back”.

He posted on Instagram: “I can’t bend over. So afraid that I won’t be able to finish tomorrow, especially I’m so close now.”

But he decided he had to make the final journey, if only to see Hasti again.

To donate, visit www.justgiving.com/fundraising/barefootacrossbritain