INTREPID mountaineer Al Sylvester handed over a cheque for £24,000 to Prospect Hospice yesterday after an epic 900-mile summer stroll.

The 49-year-old, of Faringdon, was the Adver’s biggest 160 Appeal fundraiser last year and took a solo trek from Land’s End to John O’Groats in a daunting Walk to Freedom in homage to Dean Singleton.

Dean – who was Al’s one-time flatmate, colleague and introduced him to his wife-to-be Clare – lost his battle with skin and liver cancer in Prospect Hospice in June 2011 at the age of 43.

On August 16, he set off on the long journey with only his 42lb pack and took just 39 days to reach the Scottish town.

He said: “The highlight was having more than 120 people visit me along the route, during my breaks.

“My friends and family have been amazing. I was the most supported unsupported walker.

“There were times when my legs would just no want to go anywhere. And I would argue with myself – a lot of it comes down to your attitude. You don’t want to keep going on bad days but you know you have to.

“I’m relieved it’s over. Dean would say ‘What are you doing that for, you doofus?’ It was 39 days of relentless walking.”

Prospect Hospice was overwhelmed by Al’s efforts and the generosity of his sponsors.

Head of fundraising Sheryl Crouch said: “It was great to see Al back at the hospice today, and for us to thank him one final time for his incredible fundraising for us.

"Even by the standard of the remarkable lengths people go to in their support for Prospect Hospice, Al’s achievement is one that will be remembered by many of us for years to come.

“He showed great commitment, endurance and personal sacrifice to do something in memory of Dean, and we are enormously grateful to him for all that he has done.”

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