Blackwood PE teacher’s challenge for St David’s Hospice

A PE TEACHER is relaxing after completing a mammoth challenge – and has thanked the community for getting behind him.

Phil Villa, who teaches PE at Blackwood Comprehensive School, has spent the past five days walking 100 miles in 100 hours in aid of St David’s Hospice Care in memory of his wife Jane, who died of stomach cancer in April, after a two-year battle.

He set a target of raising £1,000 for the hospice, where his wife was cared for during her illness, but smashed this target and has so far reached more than £5,000.

“The St David’s nurses are incredible,” said Mr Villa.

On his 100-mile journey, Mr Villa was joined by several people in the community – which he said helped to keep him motivated.

“Of the whole challenge, I only did four walks on my own, the rest I had people walking with me,” he said. “This helped to keep me going and I cannot thank everyone enough.”

Mr Villa set off on his challenge at midday on Thursday, August 20, and finished at 4pm on Monday, August 24.

“The last 15-20 miles was the toughest part as I could feel the pain in my toes, but it felt like I was on autopilot knowing I was near the end,” he said. “Throughout the walk, I was in a good space mentally, and I feel that part of that was due to the support I had.”

The idea came about while Mrs Villa was still alive and she encouraged her husband to do some fundraising. He was inspired by retired jockey Richard Dunwoody, who did a challenge of 1,000 miles in 1,000 hours, but this wasn’t viable for Mr Villa as he would have needed around six weeks and a team of people to make sure that it was done safely, so he thought to knock a zero off and do 100 miles in 100 hours.

He made sure to do some training beforehand, accumulating around 120 hours of walking his dog and timed walks and also inspired others to get involved in their own way.

“The PE department have been very supportive”, he said. “My family live near Kidderminster and my dad and sister surprised me by coming down and joining the walk. Other members of my family across the UK have also done a few miles and sent me the videos.”

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