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Speedo Mick is on the last leg of his walk and it takes him to Dovecot where he had his own struggles with drugs and alcohol more than two decades ago.
He turned his life around and that experience led to him start his charity fundraising and set up the Speedo Mick Foundation to help others.
Now he’s going back to Dovecot on the final push towards a £150,000 target which he’s raised over the past six months on the road.
“I lost my soul in Dovecot, that was the beginning of my demise because it was there I started drinking heavily and using drugs,” he explains.
“It wasn’t Dovecot’s fault, or the people in it because they were beautiful, it was mine. It was just my mental health and the effects of childhood trauma which I didn’t know I had at the time. No-one told me, especially in the 70s and 80s and we certainly didn’t talk about it, I’ve only just learned about that since being in recovery.
“That’s why I wanted the Foundation to work with disadvantaged young people so hopefully we can guide them and tell them what’s happening and make them aware of what they might be going through.
“I definitely left my soul in Dovey and even though I’ve been back lots of times since, I’ve never been back for it. So I’m picking it up again now, 20 years later, and it’ll draw a line under that time.”
Mick, who set off from Stornoway in the Outer Hebrides of Scotland back in spring, has been joined on his Giving Back tour by thousands of supporters who’ve walked alongside him in rain, snow and a couple of storms.
As he’s on the last stretch, from St Helens into Liverpool, he’s had another inspirational local hero – war veteran and triple amputee Andy Reid – alongside him.
Andy was awarded the MBE two years ago for voluntary service to veterans and people with disabilities in St Helens.
With just a few miles to go, Mick’s looking forward to seeing his wife Rachel again for his final night of the tour at the Logwood Mill Hotel in Whiston.
And for once he’ll not have to worry about doing his washing before an early start the next morning.
“Honestly, I’ve only got one pair of Everton Speedos so I have to rinse them out every night,” he laughs. “I do have a few others which I wear underneath so people can put money down my knickers when they see me, but not many, so I’m definitely a sink washer!”
Being away for so long, and in freezing weather conditions, has been tough but he says it’s all been worthwhile, meeting people along the route and handing out cheques from his previous walk to charities who make a difference up and down the country.
When he crosses the finish line outside the Museum of Liverpool on Friday, Mick says he’ll be absolutely buzzing.
“There were some difficult days but now I can finally smell home and my beans are back, they’re overflowing – you could track me anywhere, just follow the beans!
“Everton have invited me to the game on Sunday, so I’ll be there in my knickers for one last time this year, then I just want to chill, sit down, look forward to not really have anything to do and spending Christmas back with my family.”
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