A HATHERLEIGH farmer will be returning home to a hero’s welcome in the town tomorrow (September 14) after walking 400 miles around the perimeter of Devon in memory of his son’s best friend.

John Moyse set off from Red Post near Holsworthy on August 26 on an anti-clockwise loop around the county along roads and footpaths close to the county border.

He is completing the 400-mile walk in memory of his son Jack’s best friend George Ogborne, who tragically died in a road accident in April at the age of 17 last year. Jack and George, both keen rugby players, were members of Lewdown Young Farmers together.

George, of Bratton Clovelly, was killed after losing control of his car while driving himself home after a night out at his local pub celebrating a friend’s 18th birthday. An inquest heard he had been drinking alcohol that evening.

John’s wife Samantha, who is coordinating the epic trip, said: ‘George was our son’s best friend. There was a gang of four of them and they called themselves “the dream team”. They were very close. His death was a sad mistake, we all make mistakes and live to tell the tale but sadly he didn’t. He had that gorgeous smile and was a lovely lad.

‘When George was killed in the car accident it hit the community so hard that John wanted to do something in his memory, to make people think and bring people together.

‘John is raising money for Cancer Research UK as there was no charity specifically related to George’s death he could raise money for, and because cancer affects everyone and George’s family have lost people to cancer.’

John has been training for his epic walk since the beginning of the year, notching up 1,200 miles to get fit enough for his schedule of walking 20 miles a day for 20 days. He had taken advice on nutrition from the Exeter Chiefs rugby team and his training has meant giving up alcohol for more than two months.

After setting off from Red Post on August 26 he headed off down the Tamar Valley on the Cornish side, as this marks Devon’s westerly boundary, then east along the South West Coast Path between Rame Head and Lyme Regis along the south coast of Devon.

On Thursday last week he was heading inland from Seaton in east Devon to Chard, following the southeast boundary of the county, passing the halfway point that day.

Samantha added: ‘Every day we have someone picking up John’s belongings from his overnight accommodation and moving it on to the next place. Where possible these people do a little of the walk with him. There are also people that are just turning up to walk and cheer John along.

‘The support is amazing. He’s got 580 followers on Facebook as well and is doing really well.’

She added: ‘John aims to arrive back in Hatherleigh at 6pm on September 14. He will leave Red Post that morning at 8am and is inviting other people to join him on that last day. The Rydon Inn in Holsworthy are very kindly putting on bacon rolls for anyone on the walk.

‘He will also stop at the Bickford Arms at Brandis Corner and the Golden Inn at Highampton, aiming to be back in Hatherleigh about 6pm. Then there will be a party in the George Hotel, appropriately.’

John has already raised £10,000 for Cancer Research UK from supporters of his charitable trek in memory of George.

l Find out more on Facebook page John’s Charity Walk for George.