Liverpool actor John May and his 1000-mile trek to support Weapons Down Gloves Up
2 weeks ago
Liverpool actor and comedian John May is about to take on a 1000-mile-plus trek to support the Weapons Down Gloves Up boxing project tackling youth crime.
He’s setting off from Land’s End on January 26, wild camping and camper vanning on his way down to Land’s End.
Although he’ll be walking most of it alone, he’ll be joined for short stretches along the route by celebrities including Liverpool fighters Meatball Molly McCann and Tony Bellew who are both ambassadors for Weapons Down Gloves Up.
The walk is planned to last 12-14 weeks and John will be raising money and awareness for the project which aims to keep young people out of gangs and get them into gyms and jobs instead. It gives them a chance to learn life skills through boxing and focuses specifically on those who are 16 years or older, and not in education or training.
John says he hopes the walk will help to spread the word about the initiative right across the country at a time when knife and gun crime has been in the headlines.
“If I think locally to me, especially with what has been going on in the Liverpool city centre region over Christmas, there’s unprecedented gun crime and violence,” he says.
“I’ve got three kids myself and when someone dies due to knife or gun crime, not only does that person lose their life it just destroys so many lives – you see what it does to all the families involved.
“If I could help this cause or the people impacted in any way, I’d feel very proud of myself. If I can prevent a death, or if I can prevent a father or a mother losing their child, well that would be something, wouldn’t it?”
John decided to do the marathon walk after selling his barbershop, Sweeps, on County Road in Walton.
“I’d had my barbers for 17 years and when I sold my business, I had loads of free time on my hands so I thought, I’m going to walk from Land’s End to John O’Groats.
“It’s something I’ve always wanted to do, and I found myself in a position where I’ve got the freedom now to be able to do it before I take anything else on. This is like a reset for me, you could call it a mid-life crisis, but it just felt like the right time to do something with a purpose.
“I’ll be getting out into nature, on my own for most of the time, so as well as raising the profile of WUGD, this is me giving myself a gift and I’m going to enjoy it.”
Covering an average of 15 miles a day, the challenge will be filmed in a weekly vlog and John will be doing live daily updates on social media so supporters can keep up to date with his progress. A separate weekly cinematic video will also be shot, complete with celebrity interviews from each week.
John’s built up a big fanbase, especially since he created his own cast list of characters – his short film Turk & Lemon: Panic in Paradise released earlier this month featured a cameo by Christine McGuinness.
And he’s had no shortage of celeb backing for his walk, including from Reds legend Steven Gerrard who shared a video message of support.
John will be stopping off at gyms along his walk to highlight the work that WDGU does.
“I think what Weapons Down Gloves Up do is fantastic, because I really believe that boxing gyms are great for kids,” he says. “Growing up, I saw kids that went to boxing gyms, and ones that didn’t – and there was a difference. These kids from boxing gyms had structure, discipline and respect. I believe it gives kids a lot more than you might expect.
“The WDGU programmes are such a powerful way to get these kids off the streets. I think a lot of them find validation in gangs. They feel a sense of loyalty, but you can also get this sense of belonging to a family from your boxing gym too.”
To support John’s Land’s End to John O’Groats walk, raising money for WDGU, go to the website here.