Where’s Wal­lace?

The Peterborough Evening Telegraph - - News - By BEN TRUSLOVE ben.truslove@pe­ter­bor­oughto­day.co.uk Et­ben­truslove

WHERE’S Wal­lace? Liv­ing in Yax­ley af­ter walk­ing 1,500 miles and rais­ing £2 ,000 for Can­cer Re­search UK.

Matt Wal­lace (30) gave up his job, moved out of his flat and packed away his pos­ses­sions to em­bark on an epic trip walk­ing from John O’groats to Lands End.

Along the way he made hun­dreds of friends prompt­ing a so­cial net­work­ing frenzy ask­ing ‘Where’s Wal­lace?’

Mayor of London Boris John­son, boxer David Haye, co­me­dian Stephen Mer­chant and more all posted videos ask­ing where he was.

But not con­tent with the usual route, he called in at all 16 Can­cer Re­search UK labs, or Cen­tres of Ex­cel­lence, in­clud­ing Belfast, Birm­ing­ham and Cam­bridge.

He walked about 16 miles a day, car­ry­ing about 40lbs on his back and of­ten re­ly­ing on the kind­ness of strangers.

He said: “From a char­ity point of view I was in­spired by a close fam­ily friend who died of can­cer.

“I wasn’t par­tic­u­larly happy with my job, sit­ting be­hind a desk all day. I felt there was more to life than that.

“And it was a bit of an ex­per­i­ment. I wasn’t plan­ning on not spend­ing money, I had sav­ings which I have used.

“But I also wanted to know if there was enough hu­man kind­ness out there to make a daft idea like this pos­si­ble.

“Ev­ery­one was warn­ing me I would get mur­dered or at­tacked, but of course I wasn’t. I en­coun­tered noth­ing but kind­ness.”

Matt left his job on his 30th birth­day and started walk­ing on Septem­ber 24.

At first he camped in fields or by the side of the road but as au­tumn and then win­ter drew in he stopped in ho­tels and bed and break­fasts.

As his pop­u­lar­ity grew on Twit­ter and Face­book peo­ple of­fered him places to stay and even paid for rooms for him.

There were one or two hairy mo­ments, not least his beard and head which he re­fused to cut dur­ing his walk, in­clud­ing get­ting lost in a peat bog one evening out­side Cum­ber­nauld in Scot­land.

But the vast ma­jor­ity of the trek was one big high­light and he rolled into Land’s End on March 10.

At one point he wrote a tongue-incheek let­ter to Pres­i­dent Barack Obama ask­ing him to film a video say­ing ‘Where’s Wal­lace’.

The Pres­i­dent proved too busy to oblige but em­bassy staff liked his style and he was given a per­sonal tour of the May­fair man­sion.

He said: “There were too many mo­ments to pick out one high­light. Fin­ish­ing it was ob­vi­ously a proud mo­ment.

“It was such a big thing in my life for such a long time. I’ve got a few ideas up my sleeve for what I do next but I think they will be a bit smaller.”

Matt’s marathon won him the Can­cer Re­search Flame of Hope award for in­no­va­tion and he will be climb­ing Scafell Pike this sum­mer to light the char­ity’s ju­bilee bea­con.

And it is still pos­si­ble to spon­sor his trip.

Matt said: “Can­cer Re­search is the world’s lead­ing can­cer re­search char­ity. Sci­en­tist come from all over the globe to work here in the UK and it is im­por­tant they have their story told.”

To see Matt’s route and the videos posted through­out his trip visit www. whereswal­lace.org

To spon­sor his walk visit www.just­giv­ing.com/whereswal­lace

HOME AT LAST: Af­ter com­plet­ing his epic jour­ney for char­ity, Matt Wal­lace is now liv­ing in Yax­ley. METP-08-05-12RH71 Picture: ROW­LAND HOB­SON

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