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Walking vendor Rob has been forced to postpone his mammoth two-year challenge

The Longfield vendor was due to head up to John O’Groats this week to start his walking journey to Land’s End – but the coronavirus has forced him to cancel his plans

Rob Longfield Kent My Pitch

Veteran Big Issue vendor Rob has been left “gutted” after he was forced to delay his two-year walking challenge from John O’Groats to Land’s End.

Rob was due to travel up to Wick today before starting his walk with Staffordshire bull terrier companion Molly, selling the magazine and sleeping in a tent on the way down the country and finishing at John O’Groats.

But the coronavirus lockdown has dashed his “dream”, forcing Rob to delay the walk until next year.

The popular vendor, who has sold the magazine on his pitch outside Waitrose for 16 years and been involved with The Big Issue since our 1991 beginnings, had raised more than £1,600 for dogs charities and plans to roll those donations on for when he gets chance to complete the challenge.

Rob told The Big Issue: “I’ve had to postpone. I tried to see if I could travel up but I got into London this morning and the police turned me around. So I’ll have to postpone it until we’re open again.

“It is what it is, I’m gutted about it. I don’t feel I’ll be able to go this side of the year, I think it will be next year now.”

Despite the setback, the former mechanic, 49, is making the most of the once-per-day exercise limit imposed by the Government and is cramming in walks down the river near where he lives, enabling him to pile on the miles and maintain social distancing to protect him from the virus.

“I’ve still been walking to keep my fitness up, I’ve been walking with the dog out down the river near mine and you don’t see anybody,” Rob added.

“I’ve even still been walking with my backpack on, I won’t be losing any fitness. It’s helped while I haven’t been able to sell the magazine because I am bored!

“I am still walking and building up my muscles and I’ll still be keeping people posted on Instagram.

Rob set up a Twitter and Instagram account to keep his regular customers posted on his progress while he was on his journey. Now he’ll be using the social media accounts to give the latest on his training and planned walks. Follow Rob here or here to keep up-to-date.

And to help vendors like Rob while he is temporarily unable to sell the magazine on the streets, you can support us and vendors in these three ways, please give what you can:

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For over 30 years, the Big Issue has been committed to ending poverty in the UK. In 2024, our work is needed more than ever. Find out how you can support the Big Issue today.
Vendor martin Hawes

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