A LIFEBOAT crew member who is battling Alzheimer’s completed a sweltering charity walk while dressed in full kit.

Steve Beardsley, 55, strenuously strolled from Clacton Lifeboat Station to Walton Lifeboat Station and back again.

The father-of-three, who has worked for the RNLI for nine years, took on the 16-mile round-trip in aid of Alzheimer’s UK, The Warrior Within Project, and the RNLI.

Steve, a former military man and security guard who once fought Somali pirates, took more than six hours to complete the challenge.

For the duration of the walk, he was dressed in his full live-saving lifeboat kit, including a thermal “woolly bear” suit which designed to store heat on cold rescues.

Clacton and Frinton Gazette:

He also donned an all-in-one dry suit, steel-plated wellies, a helmet, thermal gloves and a lifejacket for the fundraising stroll in the sunshine.

“It was extremely hot and I was basically in a boil-in-a-bag suit,” added Steve.

“The first half of the walk was pretty good and we had a good pace, but on the way back, the last three miles were horrendous and I just about made it.

“I was in a bit of a state by the last bit, but I kept going and I had that military mentality.

“It was emotional and was one of the hardest things I have ever done in my life.”

Steve decided to tackle the challenge, which has raised more than £4,000, after being inspired by his determined and dedicated niece, Jessica Walsh, 17.

Following his Alzheimer’s diagnosis in January, Jessica encouraged her uncle to go for regular walks and to exercise more.

She completed the walk with Steve, alongside other friends, colleagues and family members who have been supporting him throughout his journey so far.

Steve, who has taken a week to recover from his exertions, added: “My niece inspired me to do all this and she has been out with me every day training during the early hours of the morning.

Clacton and Frinton Gazette:

“She knew I needed to exercise and to try and keep my Alzheimer’s at bay, so she encouraged me to go out.

“This was just thrown together and it was not very planned, so I was shocked by how much we have raised.

“I was only expecting a few hundred pounds, so I was pleasantly surprised to say the least.

“I would like to thank my partner of 26 years, Rachael Papa, who has been my rock, the Armed Forces and Veterans Breakfast Club, the Clacton lifeboat crew and everyone involved for the support they have given.”