BATTERED, blistered and bruised, a weary but emotional Simon Baker arrived at the Locke Bar to warm cheers and a much deserved cold pint after five torturous days walking - on one leg - from Dublin to Limerick.
The Castletroy man, a below the knee amputee who turned 44 years of age on Friday last, walked the equivalent of nine marathons on one leg and a set of crutches to raise funds for the ISPCC and Childline, in his ‘One Step At A Time’ challenge.
Flanked by a huge crowd of supporters - some of whom, including trainer Jason Kenny, walked the full 257km with him - Baker arrived at the Locke Bar shortly before 2pm on Saturday, having walked from Boher in County Limerick that morning.
To huge cheers, Simon was greeted by Mayor of Limerick, Cllr Jim Long, and Cathaoirleach of Limerick County Council, Cllr Mary Harty, who said he was an “inspiration”.
“It is emotional, it is, especially when I see everyone here, I might start crying. It is great, but it is a bit tough,” were Simon’s first words upon reaching the finish line.
Displaying his bandaged hands to the Chronicle, Simon was clearly in pain, but said: “At the end of the day it is no tougher than some of these kids have to go through. For me, you could say it was a week’s holiday, it is finished for me now. The people who have to do the work are the ISPCC and Childline, they are the real heroes, the volunteers and the people who came out and walked with us today.”
He added: “We had a great crowd walking in with us today, it has been fantastic. We got a great reaction from people on the way in, horns were blowing and people have been fantastic. The support has been amazing”.
A number of local businesses supported Simon’s challenge, as did bookmaker Paddy Power, and Simon paid tribute to everyone who helped along the way.
“I can’t thank the people of Limerick enough, they started the ball rolling. There is so many people to thank, everyone who made this possible.”
The text line for donations will stay open for the rest of this week, text STEP to 57252, at a cost of €2.