It was a poignant moment for former soldier Ian Williams as he completed a 51 mile charity walk on his mother’s 78th birthday.

Only five months ago his Mum, Julia, passed away after battling cancer, and Ian was determined to raise money in her memory to help boost research into the disease.

Ian, who chairs the Royal British Legion’s Shropshire county branch, raised £1,420 by completing his 26-hour trek along the canal network from the Ellesmere Port Boat Museum to the Wharf at Ellesmere, not far from his home

“We all know someone who has cancer or has died from it,” he said. “I lost my mother to lung cancer at the end of last October and it hit me hard, seeing what this cruel disease does. I hope that raising some money for research might lead to someone not having  to suffer as my Mum did, and I’d like to think that finishing the walk on her birthday would make her proud.”

There were cheers and applause from well-wishers as he completed his journey after walking alone through the night.

“Conditions were pretty bad in the dark,” he said. “It was very muddy in place, so for safety I had to leave the canal towpath at times and walk along the roads.  I got soaked in a 4 a.m. downpour and my partner, Jan, had to drive out into Cheshire with some dry clothing. But although it was very tiring, it was all worth it and I want to thank everyone who supported me.”

Ian celebrates the end of his 26 hour walk with a glass of fizz.