A FOOTBALL fanatic is nearing the halfway point of a mammoth trek across South America for this summer’s World Cup.
David Bewick, of Windermere, set off from Mendoza in Argentina on March 4 to walk 1,966km for the start of the tournament in Brazil on June 12.
Joined by pals Pete Johnston, Adam Burns and Ben Olsen, the group hope to finish on the pitch of the Estádio Beira-Rio in Porto Alegre, one of Brazil’s 12 World Cup venues.
This week they took their first steps into Uruguay with 1,200km left to go, but the previous six weeks have not been without incident.
Encounters with suspicious police, charging bulls, being electrocuted by a farmer’s fence, sleeping in abandoned train stations and torrential rain have all combined to hamper progress.
Pete said: “The journey so far has been incredible, the people of Argentina have been so welcoming and we have been gifted food, accommodation and even traditional Argentine clothing wherever we have travelled.
“There have been a few scary moments, most notably in the desert where we spent three days walking through 35-degree heat and were forced to sleep in abandoned train stations among snakes, spiders and curious foxes.”
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The group hope to drum up £20,000 for Josefina de Vasconcellos Care Trust to build a well in Bahia, Brazil, which is suffering the worst drought in more than 50 years.
Their tale has been told in newspapers and magazines across the world and this week they even received support from England and Newcastle United football legend Alan Shearer.
Shearer, who scored 30 goals and was capped 63 times for his country, said in a video post: “I just want to say very, very good luck in your walk.
“You’re going to need all the luck. I’m sure it’s going to be very difficult. It’s a fantastic thing you’re doing for a great cause.”
“The drought in north-east Brazil has already affected 10 million people and in Bahia, one million head of cattle, the equivalent of half the region’s cattle herd, have perished,” said Adam.
“We are hoping that Walk to the World Cup can raise the money required to build a new water well in Bahia, which will leave a lasting legacy.”
Follow the team’s blog at www.facebook.com/Walktotheworldcup and donate at www.justgiving.com/WalktotheWorldCup-JDeV.