Adventurer walks length of Grand Union Canal to raise money for youth homelessness charity


Intrepid man, Bill Savage, has walked the length of the Grand Union Canal in aid of youth homelessness charity, Centrepoint.

Bill began his 166-mile journey at Kew Bridge, London and ended at the Spaghetti Junction, Birmingham where the Grand Union Canal meets two other canals, two rivers and two motorways above. He completed an average of 19 miles and 42,412 steps a day.

In the evenings, as well as wild camping, he relied on the generosity of local pubs, hotels and AirBnB’s for a safe place to stay, with many offering the rooms for free or a reduced rate. Securing this accommodation wasn’t easy though, and while searching for a bed for the night in Leighton Buzzard he came across a lone sleeping bag – someone’s bed for the night – under a canal bridge, which brought the stark reality of homelessness into view.

Throughout the nine-day challenge, Bill received kind donations of food, drink and other amenities from strangers to keep his spirits high. Along the way, he also met a number of inspirational characters, including three people who were homeless or had experienced homelessness, which gave Bill even more motivation to complete the challenge.

According to the latest London Combined Homelessness and Information Network (CHAIN) statistics, the number of young people seen sleeping rough in the capital remains around one in ten (10%). Centrepoint believes this number could surge during the winter months.

Commenting on why he took on the challenge for Centrepoint, Bill said: “Once a year for five consecutive years, before the pandemic hit, I’ve climbed volcanoes just for fun. I was missing the challenge and keen to take on another. Then one day, as I was walking the Grand Union Canal towpath, a complete stranger asked me if anyone had ever walked the length of this canal, which connects London to Birmingham. I was hooked.

“After hearing varied stories from homeless people I have met along the way, one common thread became apparent: support early on would’ve made a massive difference to their lives. From this, I knew that I wanted to support Centrepoint. Young people are the future and we need to do what we can to support them early on so they can achieve their full potential.”

Lucy Goble, Mass Participation Fundraising Manager at Centrepoint, added: “We can’t thank Bill enough for what he has done and the money he has raised for Centrepoint. It was no easy feat, especially finding a safe place to stay in the evenings – something that many homeless young people will struggle with over the coming months.

“With the money Bill has raised, Centrepoint will be able to provide homeless young people safe and stable accommodation, support for their physical and mental health and give these young people access to training and education.”

So far, Bill has raised over £2,000 with more donations to come from family, friends and supporters along the way. If you’d like to donate to Bill’s fundraiser, please visit: