A COUPLE and their son walked 30 miles along the Leeds and Liverpool canal to help fund holidays away for disadvantaged and disabled children and their families.

Business owner, Simon Thomas, his wife Alison, and son Matthew, walked through rain, wind and sun and took an impressive 10 hours to walk the canal towpath from Leeds to Skipton.

Their efforts raised more than £2,500 for the Skipton based children’s charity, the Principle Trust, which has five holiday homes, including in Windermere and Blackpool,where it sends disadvantaged children and their families or carers on much needed holidays away.

Mr Thomas, owner of Greenholme Flooring in Otley, lives in Ilkley and is a trustee of the charity, which was founded in 2011 by Mike Davies MBE, who also lives in Ilkley.

“We started off from Leeds at 6am and got to Skipton at 4pm. Much of the towpath is asphalt, but there were parts which were more difficult and very rutted,” he said, adding they suffered no ill-effects, apart from sore feet.

Mr Thomas, who in the 1970s was an international racing cyclist, and is no stranger to long distance walking, preferring walking to running, already raised £3,000 for the charity in April by staging his own version of the London Marathon outside his house in Ilkley.

He walked the 26 miles up and down the three quarter of a mile road where he lives, social distancing and being cheered on by neighbours.

Later this year, he, and other supporters of the charity hope to walk the entire length of the Dalesway over four days - an 80 mile long distance walk which starts in Ilkley, goes through the Dales and finishes in Bowness-in-Windermere, where the charity has one of its holiday lodges.

In April, in response to the coronavirus pandemic, the charity started fundraising to send a number of key workers and their children to one of its holiday homes. It has so far received 200 applications, but is still inviting more ahead of the deadline on July 28.

To find out more about the Principle Trust, to join in the Dalesway walk, or to nominate a key worker for a holiday, visit the charity’s Facebook page, or email: info@theprincipletrust.co.uk.

The charity provides respite breaks to underprivileged and disadvantaged children from North and West Yorkshire, particularly children with life limiting conditions, disabilities, or those facing financial hardship, trauma or stress.

It works with local authorities, social services, other charities and schools to reach those children most in need.