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Young adventurers walk to Nepal to raise money for cancer charity

Henry and sam in Kathmandu

Two young adventurers have just completed the expedition of a lifetime, walking from the UK to Nepal to raise £11,000 for the Annie’s Challenge charity. Henry Dunham, a University of East Anglia (UEA) graduate from Framlingham, Suffolk, and Sam Crimp from Earl Soham, Suffolk, set out last May and reached their destination in Kathmandu on 27 March.

Henry and his family set up Annie’s Challenge in 2015 after his sister Annie was diagnosed with a terminal brain tumour. She died a year ago, in March 2016, leaving behind two young children.

“The statistics behind brain tumours make terrifying reading so we wanted to do something significant in memory of my sister that would draw attention to this and raise money for research and care,” said Henry. “Brain tumours are the biggest killers of under 40s out of all cancers and research is grossly underfunded. The money we raised will primarily go to a research programme that’s looking to find a cure for brain tumours. The charity also supports St Elizabeth’s Hospice and Marie Curie nurses, who both gave Annie the care she needed during her illness.”

Henry and Sam’s epic challenge began on 30 May 2016 when they left Harwich for Rotterdam, and they’ve since travelled through Rotterdam to Germany, Austria, Hungary, Romania, Bulgaria and Turkey. They then crossed Georgia to Azerbaijan before flying to Chennai in southern India, spending three months crossing the country by foot to reach Nepal.

“It’s been a crazy, painful and long year - a lot more tricky than either one of us thought it would be but hopefully the money we’ve raised and continue to raise will be of some help,” said Henry. “The people have kept us going, both those we’ve met along the way and the support we’ve had from home.

“We’ve gone through a really mixed bag of events, from being trapped in the Romanian mountains during a thunderstorm which lead us to seeking refuge in a shepherd's hut, to being arrested by the Turkish police for sleeping overlooking a power station.

“We were also offered food and drink and places to stay by the most unlikely people. People have constantly surprised us with their kindness and it was these moments that rekindled our resolve to finish.

“One of the most challenging periods was Sam developing a stress fracture to his foot, due to excessive walking while we were in Georgia. Determined to keep moving, this led to us buying bicycles to cycle across Azerbaijan – but they were stolen after only two days! It worked out well in the end as it forced us to take a few weeks for Sam's foot to heal properly.”

Henry and Sam won’t have any time to rest once they return to England. “We have to go back to the gym straight away as we’ve both been entered by a local team to run a 10km for Annie's Challenge within a month of our return! After that, we plan to write a book about our adventures, before planning our next hair-brained idea...”