Wigan man walked more than 2,000 miles 'to Istanbul' to support good causes

Five charities are set to benefit from the efforts of a Wigan man who completed a virtual walk all the way to Istanbul.
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John Mason, 71, regularly supports national charities as a member of the Freemasons, but wanted to do something to help good causes locally.

He decided to do a year-long sponsored walk in 2023 and set himself a target of 2,023 miles.

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But after looking at maps to see how far from Wigan that would take him, he increased his goal to 2,101 miles to reach Istanbul.

John Mason hands over a cheque for £600 to Maureen Holcroft, founder of Daffodils DreamsJohn Mason hands over a cheque for £600 to Maureen Holcroft, founder of Daffodils Dreams
John Mason hands over a cheque for £600 to Maureen Holcroft, founder of Daffodils Dreams

The challenge – which became known as Turkey For Christmas – saw Mr Mason set off from Wigan on January 1 and virtually walk through England, France, Germany, Austria, Hungary, Romania, Bulgaria and into Turkey.

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Mr Mason, who lives in Ashton, said: “I did an average of 6.5 miles per day. It had to be done every day, because if I didn’t do it one day, then I would have to do 13 miles the next day.

"I went out whatever the weather. Sometimes it was brilliant sunshine, it was lovely, other times it was sleet or snow, ice or mist, every type of weather.

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"But I was spurred on by thinking it was for people less fortunate, people who need to be supported by these charities.

"It was amusing that people thought I was actually physically walking through all the countries to Turkey.”

Mr Mason completed the distance ahead of target, so he kept walking until the end of the year and covered 2,301 miles in total.

He visited masonic lodges in Bryn, Hindley and Pemberton seeking sponsorship and his efforts raised £3,000.

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Cheques for £600 have already been presented to Embrace Wigan and Leigh and Daffodils Dreams, with Wigan and Leigh District Society For The Blind, Reflections Wigan and CORE also set to benefit .

The Freemasons have supported Daffodils Dreams for several years, helping the charity to buy essential items for children and families facing financial hardship

In a letter to the Freemasons, charity founder Maureen Holcroft wrote: “Your commitment to our cause has been a beacon of hope for those in need, and we are profoundly thankful for your dedication to helping us create a brighter future for the children and families we serve.”