A DETERMINED couple have finally finished their fundraising expedition from south Essex to Scotland almost two years after they set off.

Retired Ron Sverdloff and partner Jackie Jackson-Smith, from Leigh, took on the 350-mile trek to raise funds for the Tom Bowdidge Youth Cancer Foundation.

The pair spent close to every weekend since January 4, 2019 – except during lockdown – walking to Carlisle.

After dodging cows, horses and losing their glasses along the way, the couple have reached the finish line in Scotland.

Ron, 77, said: “When I retired the year before last I said to my lady, ‘what should we do now I’m not going to work anymore?’

“We decided to walk to Carlisle, although maybe not in one go.

“So we walked to Battlesbridge from our house on the first day and got the bus home. The next time we got the bus back there and walked to Chelmsford. We continued doing it like that until we got to Cambridge and then we left our car parked somewhere and walked for three days each time, stopping off at hotels along the way.

“Someone said it was a lot of effort and we should do it for charity. When we saw the Tom Bowdidge Youth Cancer Foundation on the TV I knew they were the ones to raise money for.”


The pair, who have raised £100 so far, took in some sights along the way but it was not all plain sailing.

Ron added: “It was fun but we had a few challenges, cows and bulls in fields being one.

“We also walked across the moors in terrible rain.

“On one occasion a horse tried to push me into a river when I had lost my glasses near Newark during the floods. I couldn’t see the path, it was like walking through a lake and the horse knew what it was doing too.

“Another time we got lost on some old Roman roads in the South Dales.”

Nikki Bowdidge, chief executive and founder of the Tom Bowdidge Youth Cancer Foundation, said: “What an absolute fantastic achievement from Ron and Jackie.

“We couldn’t believe it when we heard about their challenge. The pandemic has really put a halt on fundraisers and every penny really does count at the moment.

“We can’t thank Ron and Jackie enough for their amazing effort.”

To donate, visit tombowdidgefoundation.org.