Posted: Sat 2nd Sep 2023

Army veteran Dan McNeil to pass through Flintshire this weekend on an epic 16,000-mile charity walk

News and Info from Deeside, Flintshire, North Wales
This article is old - Published: Saturday, Sep 2nd, 2023

Army veteran Daniel McNeil will be passing through Deeside this weekend as part of his epic 16,000-mile walk around the entire UK coastline, raising funds for the Armed Forces charity SSAFA.

The former gunner began his journey of healing and fundraising alone more than two years ago from his hometown, Dalbeattie in Scotland.

Dan, 27, joined the British Army at 16 and entered the Royal Artillery. However, a combination of factors, including a diagnosis of the debilitating autoimmune disease Ankylosing Spondylitis, led him to leave the Army after five years. This, in turn, led him to a dark place of substance abuse and the brink of suicide.

It was the support of SSAFA that helped Dan turn his life around.

“SSAFA pretty much saved my life. A caseworker came out the next day. We just chatted, I told him my story and he explained how he was going to look after me,” Dan recalls.

Once he was stronger physically and spiritually, Dan decided to repay SSAFA and pay it forward for other servicemen and women by embarking on his fundraiser in March 2021.

Averaging between 15 and 20 miles a day, Dan left Rhyl for Prestatyn on Friday on his north Wales leg of the Walk.

He will continue along the Wales Coastal Path and make it into Flintshire and Deeside over the course of this weekend.

Dan’s dogged determination and belief in what he is doing by walking the coastline is a journey of healing and one he hopes will inspire others.

He has many miles to go but adds, “Every little act of kindness is simply wonderful to see. It’s amazing.” He believes it helps him pass on the kindness with the donations because he knows the money will make a difference and probably help people in the situation he once found himself in. “It’s a ripple effect, like chucking a stone in the water.”

So far, Dan has raised £21,400, but he has a long way to go to allow SSAFA to keep providing the support he and countless serving personnel and veterans, as well as their families, have received since 1885.

Dans Just Giving Page can be found here: https://www.justgiving.com/fundraising/danwalksuk

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