A 24-YEAR-OLD has completed the last leg of an ancient walk stretching as far as London to Milan.

Jack Devonport, 24, from Southwick, said he had taken more than 1.2 million steps over four months along the Monarch’s Way after agreeing to the challenge last year in a “silly bet with a friend”.

The path runs from Worcester to Shoreham, via Bristol, and is said to follow the escape route taken by King Charles II after his defeat at the Battle of Worcester in 1651.

The University of Sussex PhD student undertook the 625-mile journey for the Worthing hospice St Barnabas House, where his father David Devonport is being cared for after he was diagnosed with terminal cancer.

Jack walked the route in stages during weekends, wild camping and navigating country paths in the hope of raising £625 for the hospice – one pound for each mile of the journey. But by the time he finished the walk last month, he had totted up more than £2,000. The trek was gruelling. Jack said: “Six hundred and 25 miles is a lot further than you think. I had no idea how long it was going to take me. In walking the entire length of the Monarch’s Way, I not only covered the distance from London to Milan but ascended a total height greater than climbing Mount Everest. Dad and I live a mile from where the Monarch’s Way finishes in Shoreham and we met at the finish line.”

Jack learnt of his father’s illness two years ago. He said: “I charged out of the final assignment of my university degree to a missed call from my mum. My dad had been told he had terminal lung cancer. One of the reasons he is still here is due to the fantastic work of everyone at the hospice. I couldn’t think of a better cause to walk for.”

David was referred to St Barnabas in January 2017. The 60-year-old said: “My wife and I are so proud of Jack for taking on the Monarch’s Way challenge but we also think he’s a bit mad.

“When he came back from walking each weekend, he was usually filthy and had a new injury or an interesting story to tell us. He’s walked through thunderstorms, slept outside in the wild without a tent and met a lot of lovely people along the way.

“I was diagnosed with lung cancer in April 2016. The doctors told me I had six months to live, so I feel really lucky to be here still.

“I was so close to just giving up before I came to St Barnabas, and it was a worrying time for my family and friends.

“The care I have received from everyone here has been fantastic. You can talk to them about anything.

“I think when Jack saw the change in me after coming to St Barnabas he wanted to do something to help support the hospice. Whatever he raises will help another person receive the same care I have been fortunate enough to receive. I hope it makes a difference for them in the same way it has for me.”

You can still donate to Jack’s fundraiser at www.justgiving.com/Jack-Devonport1