Nine-year-old Declan ‘Deckie’ MacLean was inspired by soldier Chris Brannigan, who passed through the region in the summer on his trek from Land’s End to Edinburgh.
Chris’ daughter Hasti has Cornelia de Lange Syndrome, and Chris is raising money to fund research into therapy for children with the condition.
Determined to help, Deckie pledged to walk barefoot from Jedburgh to Kelso, and back again – some 23 miles, during his school holidays.
The youngster was stunned at the start of his challenge last Wednesday when his hero Chris made a surprise appearance to support his efforts.
His proud mum Heather Morris said: “Deckie really struggled after hurting his foot but made it all the way to Sainsbury’s in Kelso. The reception he got when he turned up was just amazing.
“After seeing how much pain he was in a lovely group of people from Unite the Union offered to donate £3,000 if Deckie got in a car and travelled home safely. He was in a lot of pain so accepted. However he insisted on walking the last few miles into Jedburgh.”
Determined to complete the distance, Deckie is now planning to walk the last eight miles of his challenge, plus another three, to complete a barefoot marathon.