Man’s million-step challenge in aid of granddaughter ends in Hastings

A party was held to celebrate David's arrival in St Leonards on October 6. Photos courtesy of Streetspace.
A party was held to celebrate David's arrival in St Leonards on October 6. Photos courtesy of Streetspace.

A million-step challenge that spanned two countries ended on Sunday with a party on the beach at St Leonards.

David Jeapes, 62, took on the 481-mile walk from France to Hastings to raise funds for his four-year-old granddaughter Violet, who suffers from Cerebral Palsy, epilepsy and dystonia.

David Jeapes reunited with his granddaughter Violet

David Jeapes reunited with his granddaughter Violet

Well-wishers turned out along the route, with crowds accompanying him in Pevensey, but the biggest turnout was in Hastings and St Leonards where a party was staged at the Azur in Marina.

David, who was born and brought up in Hastings, now lives in Saint Pardoux, south West France. It was from Saint Pardoux that David started his walk, on September 6.

He and his support team have now turned their campaign into a formal charity called Association Violet.

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Funds raised up to October 31 will be divided, with 80 per cent going to meet Violet’s needs and paying for equipment, sensory games and toys, therapies, hospital visits including overnight stays and major adaptions to the family home. A further 10 per cent will each go towards the Hastings cause Charity For Kids which supports disabled, sick and terminally ill children, and the French disability charity Apeeimc.

David said: “It was never about me, it was always about raising money for Violet. We’ve definitely raised more than £20,000. The ultimate goal was to try and raise £40k, but was really a pipe dream.

“The golden goal was if we could build a therapy room and a separate bedroom for Violet. And it seems like it is almost within our grasp.

“None of this would have been possible without my wife who has been an absolute demon force behind it all. Streetspace and metroSTOR have been fantastic helping to cover the costs so every bit of money raised can go to Violet and the charities we are supporting. That was a huge weight off our shoulders.”

David is a business consultant for covered canopy constructor Streetspace and its sister brand metroSTOR, and was praised by the company for taking on this gruelling challenge.

Simon Dolby, Streetspace communications manager, said: “What David has done is amazing. We are so proud of him and delighted to support him every step of the way.”

To make a donation towards the million step challenge, and to view a map of the route David followed, click here. To view a video report on the challenge, click here.