South Shields dad who could barely walk 10 steps battles back from health problems to take on 10-mile route for Poppy Appeal

A man who struggled to walk for months is set for a 10-mile charity challenge as he battles back from health problems.

Wayne Groves, 42, from South Shields was diagnosed with aggravated arthritis in 2020, and found it hard to undertake even the most basic of activities.

“Back in March and April last year, I could hardly walk 10 steps, let alone 10 miles,” he said.

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But after enduring six months of struggling to walk and taking steps to recovery, he has fought back – and set himself a challenge for the Poppy Appeal, which he will undertake for Saturday, November 6, with his friend Steven Paulsen.

Wayne pictured at the end of his Poppy Run last year when he managed 5k.

“We will be doing our version of the Poppy Run by doing a 10 mile challenge to raise money for the Royal British Legion,” he said.

"We will be starting off at The Poppy Bar in Sunderland at around 11am and then walking back to South Shields along the coastal route.”

Wayne also did his own 5k version of the Poppy Run back in 2020.

“I have been making adjustments to my life, trying to find the boundaries of what I can and cannot do,” he said.

Wayne Groves who is planning a 10-mile charity challenge.

"Ten miles may not seem like much of a challenge. It is not a great distance to walk but for me it is my biggest challenge since I took part in the Great North Run a few years back.

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"I have struggled with my mobility for the last year and a half and have not been able to walk very far. In fact, this will be more than double my previous best distance, ” he added.

Wayne says he has been fundraising for so long, that he can not remember how much he has raised over the years or how many charities he has helped.

Wayne pictured on a previous fundraising challenge.
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“I am trying to push myself where I can, but by doing challenges for different charities each time so that I help myself to get better, whilst helping some great causes at the same time,” he said of his latest challenge.

"So for me, 10 miles this time really is a massive challenge, but knowing I am helping the RBL is a great motivation for me, as money raised will go towards people who have gone through tougher days than me. It will be helping the real heroes and their families.”

Wayne will be calling into venues such as Grannie Annie's Pub & Pantry, The Sanddancer South Shields and the Beehive Inn ‘with our collection tin along the way, though we won't hassle the customers. We will stop off for a quick soft drink and if any customers would like to donate, they can’.”

He added: "If any other bars, coffee shops or other kind of shops would like us to pop into their place as we pass please let me know, so we can pop in with our tin and get some photos to promote your venue.”

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A flashback to Wayne's Great North Run days.

Wayne thanked organisations which have given their support and they include his workplace BST Fabrics which is donating 10% of the sales of remembrance fabric to the cause.

Ice Print & Design is printing hoodies for the charity walkers to wear on the day of their big challenge and Wayne also thanked the pubs which have given him permission to do collections during his walking event.

To give your support to the fundraisers, visit

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Wayne and his friend Steven Paulsen who will be joining him on his latest charity challenge.