MEMBERS of a martial arts centre set off on a gruelling challenge yesterday to help raise money for Swindon youngster Luca Railton.
The group, mainly from G5 Martial Arts Centre in Kembrey Park, were looking to travel from Land’s End to John O’Groats in 48 hours stopping at points along the way to perform 10,000 kicks.
It is being done to raise money for 10-year-old Cricklade school boy Luca, who needs life altering surgery to help him walk.
Fifteen people are taking part in the challenge, most of whom are from the martial arts centre in Kembrey Park, alongside a mechanic to make sure the minibus they are travelling in keeps moving.
The group set off towards Land’s End yesterday morning and managed to avoid any bad weather meaning they arrived on time.
Ken Stronach, 43, master instructor of the centre, said: “There were nerves when we set off, especially with the weather being so bad, because we weren’t sure if we would even be able to make it down here.
“Fortunately we didn’t have any problems so we’re all looking forward to getting started. Everyone is up for it and while it will be tough we’re confident it can be done.
“We won’t be stopping at any point so someone will be driving through both nights. I’m not sure what time we’ll be back on Sunday but hopefully the weather won’t be too bad.”
The team are not taking the traditional direct route, and are instead travelling over to the Isle of Skye before going around the coast of Scotland to reach John O’Groats.
They are expecting to raise at least £5,000 and were well on their way to achieving that before setting off.
Ken said: “It’s been an absolutely fantastic effort by everyone so far, especially as we only started raising the money a few months ago.
“We had a break-in a few weeks ago in which some of the money we had raised was taken but that seems to have spurred everyone on.”
Every penny raised will go towards paying for an operation to help Luca, above, walk. He was born with Bilateral Tibial Hemimelia, which means he was born with no tibia and no knee in his right leg and his left leg only has a partial tibia.
He and his family are set to travel to Florida next month to have a vital procedure and need £135,000 to do so.
To donate towards Luca’s operation visit www.helplucawalk.com.