Aiming to raise £16,000, please sponsor Tobias Branston if you can!

Land's End signpost

In the middle of May 2023 Tobias Branston left home in Shropshire, to walk on his own from Land’s End to John O’Groats, in the hope of raising £16,000 for two charities close to his heart.

Tobias, aged 19, is fundraising to support the extraordinary work and campaigning of two charities, Severn Hospice and Heartburn Cancer UK. These charities gave support to the families of two of his oldest friends, whose late fathers were diagnosed with cancer in recent years.

The journey so far…

It’s a journey of over 1000 miles on foot and Tobias aims to walk around 20 miles per day.

Tobias crossed the start line at Land’s End on 16 May 2023. With rest days included it is likely to take him approximately two and half months to complete this epic journey. He hopes to arrive in John O’Groats in mid to late July.

He is travelling light and solo, and will be largely unsupported. To maximise the sums raised, he’s ‘sleeping out’ in a bivvy bag rather than paying to stay in B&Bs or hotels.

After 21 days he has already made it through Shropshire. He has occasionally been joined by various friends and his parents on the route so far. After a brief rest at home is now heading north from Brewood to John O’Groats.

Raising awareness of Oesophageal cancer

The aim of the walk is two-fold, namely to raise funds to enable both charities to continue their excellent work and also to support a national project to improve the early diagnosis of oesophageal cancer.

Both of his friends’ fathers had served in the military, in the Grenadier Guards and Royal Marines. They maintained a love of physical endurance even after they had retired. Therefore, it seemed only right for Tobias, who is planning to join the Army after leaving university, to attempt a particularly demanding feat in their memory and to raise funds for such terrific charities.

As well as making a donation on Tobias’ JustGiving page, you can follow his route and even join him on a section of his epic walk. You can also follow Tobias on Instagram on @tobiaswalks. His walk is also being covered by BBC Radio Shropshire and in the Shropshire Star.

Two great charities!

The Severn Hospice is a Shropshire based charity. It absolutely delivers on its vision of ‘caring for people at the end of their life as well as they were at its beginning’.

Heartburn Cancer UK exists to raise awareness about the dangers of persistent heartburn, gastro-oesophageal reflux disease (GORD) and Barrett’s oesophagus which can lead to oesophageal cancer.

A quick and simple Cytosponge diagnostic test, developed by the University of Cambridge, is currently an NHS pilot in some hospitals. Heartburn Cancer UK are helping to support its progress into primary care, so that this test can be readily available at every GP surgery to proactively test people at risk and monitor people with Barrett’s oesophagus.

Have you got any symptoms?

Tobias hopes that many who read about his journey will be prompted not only to make a donation but also, if they have persistent heartburn, to speak to their GP about getting checked out and seeing if the Cytosponge test might be available in their area.

Oesophageal cancer is the 4th most common cause of cancer deaths in men in the UK.

Currently, the UK has the worst survival record in Europe and the developed world for oesophageal cancer, and earlier diagnosis will help to change this and save lives.