Nine-year-old to tackle 127-mile trek

Phil Wallis and daughter Jayne
Phil Wallis and daughter Jayne

A father-daughter duo are preparing to walk the entire length of the Leeds to Liverpool Canal for charity.

Jayne Wallis and dad Phil will take on the 127-mile-long trudge for Cancer Research, after the idea struck the nine-year-old by chance on a random day out.

“We were walking back from a play centre, down the canal to our street,” said Phil.

“We went past a mile post, which said 92 miles to Leeds.

“At which point Jayne said ‘I wish we could walk that.’

“It was that which kicked the idea off.”

The idea was confirmed after Phil then spotted another marker a short while later which said 35 miles to Liverpool, in the opposite direction.

Phil, 33, added: “I said to Jayne that we could do the whole thing if she wanted and do it to raise money for charity.”

Phil and Jayne, who attends St Patrick’s RC Primary in Scholes, will set off from Liverpool on August 4 and hope to reach the end point in Leeds four to five days later.

They hope to have reached Wigan by the end of the first day so that they can spend the night at home.

They aim to be carrying on the rest of the way with just a pop-up tent to keep them sheltered along the long journey.

“Wherever we stop, we’ll just sleep there for the night and get going again as soon as it’s daylight,” said Phil.

The family chose to raise money for Cancer Research because Phil had lost his grandparents and several friends to the disease.

Phil’s wife Emma also “braved the shave” a few years ago for the Macmillan nurses appeal.

Emma said: “My hair was quite long and I thought, ‘let’s just do it.’”

She added: “It was very scary to do, but I’m glad I did it.”

She aimed to raise £200 but ended up raising thousands for the cancer support charity.

Phil said: “Since the idea first came, it hasn’t gone away.

“My daughter is really looking forward to it.

“Even though it’s 127 miles, she’s really determined.”

And they will need more than determination to get them through the equivalent of just under five marathons.

Phil, a train conductor for Northern Rail, said: “We do some walking practice when we can, but it’s not easy to get the training in.”

To support the Wallis’s fund-raising, visit justgiving.com/fundraising/phil-wallis2016.