Speedo-wearing fundraiser wants to send children to Welsh adventure park he couldn’t afford
A fundraiser famed for his efforts while wearing bright blue swimming trunks has said that he wants to give money to send children to a Welsh adventure park – after he couldn’t afford to pay his own way to go there as a child.
Michael Cullen, now more commonly known as Speedo Mick, has completed a myriad of tasks while donning trunks and hopes to hit the £1 million mark on GoFundMe as he prepares to walk 1,000 miles from John O’Groats, Scotland to Land’s End, Cornwall from December 29.
He said that one £1,000 grant from The SpeedoMick Foundation will help take children, who might not otherwise afford it, go on a school trip to where Mr Cullen once went as a child – Colomendy adventure park in Wales.
The Outdoor Activity Centre near Mold in Flintshire offers groups and schools activities including kayaking, abseiling and caving.
Speedo Mick explained that as a child he was only able to go to Colomendy when his school gave him a concession ticket, and wanted other children to have the same experience.
“It will take all the kids who don’t get holidays to Colomendy,” he said.
“It’s brilliant, it’s massive.”
Speedo Mick thanked the public for their support so far, saying he “could not have done it without” them after raising more than £800,000 for charity.
He now plans to walk from 15 miles a day for around two to three months in aid of The SpeedoMick Foundation, which will give grants to small grassroots charities that support mental health awareness, disadvantaged young people and the homeless, before he hangs up his Speedos for good.
“It’s bittersweet… It gave me a purpose,” Mr Cullen, 58, told the PA news agency.
“It’s given me a purpose to be busy and to be positive and to give back as well.
“And every single person who’s donated, shared my posts, said ‘keep going’… every single person who has done that for me over the last eight years, they’ve all been part of this journey.
“I could not have done this without you… The support has blown me away and honestly, just talking about it now makes me very emotional.”
Mr Cullen’s charity triumphs have included a 2,000-mile, five-month trek across the nations of the UK and Ireland and swimming the English Channel, before he turned up to his beloved Everton Football Club’s next home game in a pair of blue trunks with “Channel swimmer” written on his chest.
He has bought a tent and plans to camp throughout the walk, as well as scaling the three peaks – Ben Nevis, Scafell Pike, and Mount Snowdon – along the way.
He added he looks forward to meeting people who will show up when he needs it most.
“I guarantee about 10 cars will pull up with roast dinners,” he said.
“Someone (once) drove 700 miles to give me a cuddle and a cup of coffee.
“Another lady made her daughter drive 150 miles one way just to put a coat on me.
“I wish there was a camera above me doing the whole walk because it’s magical, what happens… It’s a bit like a real Disney movie.”
He has raised more than £5,500 on GoFundMe and said it would be “a perfect ending” to reach the £200,000 mark, bringing his personal fundraising total to £1 million.
“That would just be a perfect ending to the Speedo Mick stomps, wouldn’t it, a million quid?” he said.
“But obviously we’ve got a cost-of-living crisis so I’m not expecting us to raise £200,000.
“We’re just going to see how it goes, we’ll be giving grants out along the way as well.”
While admitting he is not quite yet feeling up to his last trek, Mr Cullen also said putting on his Speedos lets him “get into the groove”.
“I get the energy from (the Speedos),” he said.
“When I get in my kit and I’ve got my bag on and all my flags are flapping about in the wind, that’s when the challenge begins.
“I’ve got ADHD as well, so I think that’s what helps me to get through the challenges.
“I know that about myself now and instead of it being a negative tag, I turn it into a positive power.”
To find out more about Mr Cullen’s final fundraiser, go to: www.gofundme.com/the-final-stomp
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