FORMER soldier John Williams who set off to mark his 60th birthday with a 60 kilometre walk accompanied by 60 dogs has successfully completed his task.
The dedicated dog foster carer from Fernhill Heath decided to mark his milestone birthday last month with a fundraising effort for Evesham Greyhound and Lurcher rescue.
Mr Williams, from Fernhill Heath, who served 22 years as an electrical and radar technician with the Army's Royal Electrical and Mechanical Engineers, began fostering rescue dogs for the charity 18 months ago. Currently he has three dogs: one, a black lurcher called Jensen that is fostered and looking for a permanent home, and two of his own: a saluki called Marnie and a grey merle collie called Sorcha.
In 18 months he and his wife, Ruth, have fostered 20 dogs, some for a few months and some just for a few days.
He wanted to raise money for the dog rescue team because it receives no outside help and relies solely on donations to cover things like food and expensive vets' bills. He had been introduced to the charity by his daughter, Maz, who was working at a vets where two of the dogs the charity had rescued were being treated
Mr Williams planned to complete the walk over two days. He invited family friends and anyone else he knew with dogs to join him for part of the walk which started from his home in Worcester and took in Upton, Malvern, Powick. Evesham, Pershore and Stoulton.
In total, 67 dogs and 48 people joined him and he says he was delighted to have been so well supported.
"Luckily the weather was in our favour, albeit a bit chilly. We had blue skies for the majority of the walk in which we were joined by people from as far as Plymouth, London, South Wales, Hereford, Gloucester, Tamworth and Bristol.
"The thing that we will all take away from this is the overwhelming feeling of community that there is in the dog world, not just in the Evesham Greyhound and Lurcher Rescue family, but the kindred support, belief and love of these dogs that will benefit from the funds raised," said Mr Williams.
In total he raised £2,250 which is to be split between the greyhound and rescue charity as well as Hounds for Heroes.