A former soldier who carried a crucifix weighing 100lbs from Rotherham to London says he is ‘overwhelmed’ by public support – but claims there was ‘no room at the inn’ from churches en route.
Wayne Hayhurst has the cuts, bruises, blisters – and broken toe – to prove he truly has bore the weight of the cross on his pilgrimage to raise cash for a children’s hospice.
But, oddly, Wayne claims churches he encountered on the nine-day journey would not offer a place to rest – meaning the hero was forced to sleep rough for some nights.
Wayne, aged 49, said: “A lot of people say they bear the weight of the cross – but I’ve got the cuts, bruises and blisters to prove I actually have.
“There were times on my journey that I wanted to give up, walking along country roads in the pitch black, in the middle of the night, when it was raining.
“But if you have faith – anything is possible. I can’t save the lives of these poorly children, but I can make a sacrifice, raise some money and do what I can.”
Despite Wayne’s saintly intentions, the former Royal Corps of Transport soldier said churches en route abandoned him in his time of need.
Wayne, of Whiston, Rotherham, said: “The churches I encountered were not helpful at all, they turned me away and forced me to sleep rough. Talk about no room at the inn – I could not believe it.
“I was carrying a wooden and copper cross, which was 13 foot in length and six foot in diameter, to help dying children and they would let me stay the night in their church.” He added: “I was overwhelmed by the support from the public. A lot of people said how much they had been inspired by what I was doing. Quite a few did think I was a looney, though.”
Wayne, who made the pilgrimage with his trusty dog Pip, said he was forced to abandon his journey at Magna Park, South of Leicester – after walking for more than 100 miles.
He said: “I could hardly walk due to a broken toe and this guy pulled up in a car and said ‘I’ve seen you on Facebook and you’ve really inspired me. I want to take you the rest of the way’.
“At that stage, I couldn’t refuse. I’d walked way over 100 miles.”
Wayne said he arrived in London yesterday and will be having a celebration in Hyde Park tomorrow.
The body-breaking journey was to raise funds for Bluebell Wood Children’s Hospice, in North Anston, which cares for more than 200 children in South Yorkshire and further afield.
Wayne is also raising cash for PDSA, the UK’s leading veterinary charity.
But despite his incredible feat, the current total has not broken the £300 mark yet.
n To help Wayne, visit mydonate.bt.com/fundraisers/waynehayhurst2