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Gary Birdsall, aged 37 and originally from Yorkshire, has been homeless for over 10 years, but has been volunteering for The Pavement in London since it started in 2005. He has done many long-distance walks so earlier this year, when he heard about the launch of the new West Midlands edition, he offered to walk from London to Birmingham to raise awareness and funds.
Gary set out from London Paddington on 30 October and set off northwards along the Grand Union Canal following a route that Pavement volunteer Ian Mountford had worked out for him which took him through West Drayton, Watford, Berkhamstead, Leighton Buzzard, Milton Keynes, Daventry, Leamington Spa and Dorridge. He walked between 11 and 28 miles a day, arriving in Birmingham a day earlier than expected on Sunday 7 November. After a brief photocall, he was presented with a box of Cadbury's Heroes chocolates and taken out for a celebratory meal, then put on a train to Yorkshire to stay with family and recuperate.
Gary raised an impressive £865 through the Just Giving site, and reports of his walk made the BBC and Teletext news pages.
Gary said: "It was tough going at times and I wasn't sure I could make it, but I have. Please thank everyone who has supported me. The West Midlands edition of The Pavement is great, and I hope to do more to help in the future".
Ellie Jones, the West Midlands editor, said: "It was very good of Gary to offer to undertake this walk. He is a charismatic man and drummed up a lot of support for The Pavement en route. I am so impressed by the distances he covered and the speed with which he finished. He should be very proud of his achievement. Thank you to everyone who has supported Gary and The Pavement."