FOUR retired Scout leaders are set to walk the length of the Essex Way to raise money for a new cancer centre.

The team, named The Jolly Walkers, will be joined by two formerly homeless men as they trek 80 miles over four days in aid of the Colchester Hospitals Charity appeal.

David Hewitt, 48, David Hepplewhite, 48, Tim Styles, 46, and Gary Lynes are all former Scout leaders in Coggeshall, and plan to put their love of walking to good use.

Mr Hewitt said: “We all know someone who has been affected by cancer in the past.

“We have all seen Colchester Hospital’s campaign, and it is nothing short of amazing what they are trying to achieve.

“You look at the cause and the difference it will make to so many people, there is no doubt it is worth giving up our time for. “ The group are raising money for the Cancer Centre Campaign, which is supported by the Gazette, to raise £3.25 million to bring cancer services together on one site.

The money will allow the charity to build a holistic, purpose-built centre to house chemotherapy, haematology and complementary treatments above the new radiotherapy centre at Colchester General Hospital.

Mr Hewitt added: “As scout leaders, this is our bread and butter in many ways, but we have never walked the whole way.

“We are looking to do about 20 miles a day, which will be a challenge back-to-back.

“We have taught so many youngsters how to read a map, or how to use a compass over the years, it is going to be pretty embarrassing if we get lost. “ The Scout leaders will be joined by Michael Hawkins-Far and Ian Simpson, who live at the Emmaus Colchester community.

Emmaus provides a home and work for people who have experienced homelessness and social exclusion, offering them an alternative route out of homelessness.

Mr Hewitt said: “They have enough challenges in their personal life, it is great to see them giving something back.

“We’re really excited that Michael and Ian are joining us on the walk, we’re so grateful for the support.

“ I’m looking forward to getting to know them better over the three days.”

The group set off from Epping yesterday and will finish in Harwich on Sunday.

To support the walkers, go to