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Swansea man pays tribute to dog who joined him for 17,000-mile charity walk

07 Apr 2024 4 minute read
Chris Lewis, with partner Kate Barron and their son Magnus and adopted dog Jet, completing his charity walk of UK coastline at Llangennith Beach, near Swansea Ben Birchall/PA Wire

The Swansea man who spent six years walking the UK coastline has spoken of his devastation at the death of the dog who joined him on his journey.

Chris Lewis, 43, paid tribute to Jet, his faithful companion who he adopted on his walk.

Jet, a white lurcher with a brown patch of fur on her left side, ended up joining him for the remainder of his 17,000-mile expedition.

Mr Lewis started his epic walk from Llangennith beach on the Gower Peninsula, near his home city of Swansea, South Wales, on August 1 2017, with just £10 in his pocket and a few days of supplies, hoping to raise £100,000 for SSAFA, the Armed Forces charity.

When he returned to the spot where it all began in July last year, he had raised five times that amount, with Jet, his partner Kate Barron, now 37, and son Magnus, now 23 months.

Devastated

Writing on his Facebook page, Wilderness Family, Mr Lewis said his heart has never been so broken and asked Jet to wait for him “on the other side”.

He said: “There are simply no words I can use to hide how devastated me, Kate and Magnus are at this moment.

“Our beautiful Jet, my best friend and my shadow has left us.

“She leaves behind a legacy few ever have. She helped fix me, she walked 17,000 miles, she helped me gain a family. She was loved by so many and helped raise over half a million for charity.

“Above all I have lost the dearest most loving friend anyone could ask for. My heart is broken and a void shall remain that can never be filled.

“Her love and loyalty won the hearts of a nation and beyond.

“Jet my friend you are a legend. I am going to miss you so bloody much.

“I know if she could, she would say thank you for all your love and support over the years, so I’ll say it for her. Thank you.”

Best friend

His adventure saw Mr Lewis spend the first coronavirus lockdown on an uninhabited Shetland island, Hildasay.

His bestselling book, Finding Hildasay, features a foreword by fellow adventurer Ben Fogle, who has supported Mr Lewis during his journey along with other famous faces including astronaut Tim Peake.

In the book, Mr Lewis wrote of how he and Jet met in March 2018, less than a year into his journey.

While he was on his walk, he was told that a family was looking for someone to adopt a dog and met them at a pub in Irvine, North Ayrshire.

He described himself as “nervous about the whole situation” and questioned if it was a bad idea, but the two quickly bonded.

Jet was scared during their first meeting, and Mr Lewis stayed awake all night to comfort her, and in the morning she followed him on his journey.

He described her as the “best friend I would ever have”.

Struggle

Mr Lewis served with 2nd Battalion, Parachute Regiment and struggled to cope after entering civilian life. He decided to walk the UK coastline after suffering with anxiety and depression.

The father-of-two was facing homelessness when he set off in August 2017, wearing an ill-fitting pair of borrowed boots with limited supplies.

Three years into the trek, he met Ms Barron in Scotland and she joined his walk a few months later.

The family’s fundraising page is at justgiving.com/fundraising/chriswalks


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Frank
Frank
1 month ago

Well done Chris, you did good. So sorry for your loss. The loss of a pet is devastating but you can be sure Jet will be there waiting for you. God bless.

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