Man completes charity walk to Rome to honour late wife

 Last Friday, Nigel Hearnden, 49, reached the end of a 1,300 mile charity walk from his home in Gosport, to Rome in honour of his late wife, Anne. Beginning his journey in late January, Nigel finally arrived in St Peters Square at midday on Friday, after four months of traveling. He was greeted by friends and family and will return home at the end of this week, following a public audience and perhaps a close-up meeting with the Pope on today. The ex naval officer had last visited Rome in 2005 with his wife and they vowed to spend their 30th wedding anniversary there. Sadly, Anne died of a heart infection in November 2005, following four years battling cancer, and the couple never had the chance to return. Calling his walk the 'Return to Romance' (standing for Return to Rome for Anne and Charities), Nigel decided to undertake this huge challenge to honour Anne's memory and raise money for charities that she supported; ActionAid, FORT, Harbour Cancer Support Centre and Gosport Catholic Church Mbetta Project Upon reaching St Peter's Square, Nigel said: "It is a tremendous relief to have arrived in Rome after four months of travelling. To finally be in St Peter's Square is fantastic. I'm very tired, both emotionally and physically but so pleased to have completed the walk. I know Anne would be pleased too." With support from his local community and leading figures such as the Lord Mayor of Portsmouth and the Roman Catholic Bishop of Portsmouth, Nigel has gained many supporters throughout the course of his journey including the British Ambassador to the Holy See. HM Ambassador Francis Campbell welcomed Nigel and his supporters for afternoon tea and a personal tour around his office. Nigel said: "This has been an incredible journey, with lots of ups and downs. There have been times when I thought I couldn't carry on, especially when I've been walking alone and on dates such as our wedding anniversary. The huge amount of support I have had and knowing I am raising money for such great causes has kept me going. I've had emails from people all over the world giving encouragement, which has been a tremendous boost. "During my journey, I've met so many people and seen so many sights and to meet the Pope on Wednesday would be the icing on the cake." Source: ActionAid

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