A couple from Abertillery are taking part in this year’s Wales Air Ambulance’s virtual Walk Wales – all the way from Cyprus!

Lawrence Morris, 52, and his wife Julie, 57, are currently staying at their second home in Pernera, south-east Cyprus, where they are aiming to clock 150 miles for the lifesaving Charity.

Walk Wales allows walkers a chance to set themselves a target based on the number of steps they could achieve over a one-month period from the comfort of their own homes. Each target is the equivalent of a walk between iconic Welsh castles and can be achieved at home, in the garden or during exercise, taking the dog for a walk – and even going up and down the stairs! 

The couple are aiming to virtually walk from Harlech Castle to Cardiff Castle, which is around 343,000 steps.

Reflecting on raising funds for the charity, Lawrence, said: We have been walking regularly over the last 6 months through the lockdowns/restrictions in Cyprus for our health and wellbeing; there have been night-time curfews here and also restrictions on movement where we were only allowed out 3 hours per day after getting permission via text from the authorities. On seeing the challenge advertised on social media, we thought it would be good to set ourselves a goal for the month of June -150 miles, whilst raising some money back in Wales.”

Lawrence, who is a former officer at South Wales Fire and Rescue Service, originally planned to climb Snowdon with his friends Stephen Flower, Stephen Mogford and Andrew Goodenough in June last year but due to the pandemic the fundraiser has been put on hold. The men now hope the climb will go ahead in 2022.

Lawrence, who retired in September 2018, said: “I had the opportunity to visit the Wales Air Ambulance base in Cardiff last year with my friends, as we were going to walk up Snowdon as a part of our first fundraising event for the charity, where I also learnt the excellent service that is provided for the children of Wales, which I was unaware of.”

Despite the hot temperatures the couple are enjoying the challenge so far and have walked some of the wonderful coastlines in the local resorts of Pernera, Protaras and Kapparis, whilst also visiting and walking in the local town of Paralimini.

“We have enjoyed being able to walk some of the wonderful coastline here over the last couple of weeks, whilst feeling proud of the achievement that we are raising money for such a wonderful cause.”, added Lawrence.

The duo, who travelled to Cyprus in September and decided to stay on the island, are now registered as residents but hope to return to Wales in August after they’ve celebrated their silver wedding anniversary.

The pair are delighted to have already raised £340 for the Wales Air Ambulance, Lawrence added: “We honestly didn’t set ourselves any target for raising money and at first was happy to pay the entrance fees as our donation to the charity, but we have both been amazed at the generosity of some of our family and friends raising over £300 to date.”

Wendy McManus, the Charity’s South-East Wales Community Fundraiser, said: “It is wonderful to hear of fundraisers like Julie and Lawrence who are taking part in our Walk Wales fundraiser in another country. Despite the hot weather, the couple are enjoying clocking the miles to reach their 150mile target.

“The beauty of Walk Wales allows the participant to take part virtually from anywhere in the world. Thank you so much to Julie and Lawrence and everyone who has donated to their fundraiser. They’ve so far raised a fantastic £340. We hope you enjoy the rest of the challenge.”

You can show your support to Julie and Lawrence by donating to their Just Giving page Lawrence Morris Walk Wales / Cerdded Cymru

There are several ways that the public can continue to support the Wales Air Ambulance. These include online donations, signing up to the Charity’s Lifesaving Lottery or by coming up with their own innovative ways to fundraise at home. Further information can be found via www.walesairambulance.com

Alternatively, a £5 text-message donation can be made by texting the word HELI to 70711.