TWO Hampshire men have returned home after walking more than 100 miles in aid of a Nerve Tumours UK.

Winchester resident Jem Musselwhite and his long-term friend Rich White left Canterbury Cathedral on April 5 to walk 120 miles along the Pilgrims’ Way.

It took the pair ten days to reach their end destination, Winchester Cathedral, where they were met by a crowd of friends and family members.

Jem said: “Well, I’m still aching now! But Pilgrim’s Way is a beautiful walk.

“We packed light and lugged all our stuff on our backs. Overnight, we stayed in pubs, because we are two men in our late 50s, and camping would’ve added insult to injury. We kept up the self maintenance, and had lots of foot creams, too!”

He added: “I’ll be honest, we were so tired every night, I think the latest we got to sleep was around 9pm.

“But when we got back, there was a fabulous reception – it felt like a heroes welcome.”

The duo had set out hoping raise £2,000 for the charity, which has supported Jem’s nine-year old granddaughter, Lilly Burbridge, who has neurofibromatosis.

But their online JustGiving page has now raised just under £3,500 from 78 different supports – exceeding their target by 70%.

Jem said: “We met so many lovely people on the way who donated to our cause. One lady with her dog stopped and asked what we are doing, so we told her, and she promised to put some money on the JustGiving page.

“We got to the next pub, and lo and behold, she had given us £20. And this kind of thing happened on so many occasions. One pub didn’t charge us for food and drinks, and told us to put it in the pot.

“The trip has restored my hope in human nature.”

The money will now go to Nerve Tumours UK, which provides support and information, as well as campaigns and promotes research on behalf of over 26,500 people in the country who have neurofibromatosis and schwannomatosis.