AN inspirational pensioner who has travelled to cricket grounds across the country will next be leading fellow walkers in Essex in a continued effort to raise vital funds for charity.

Since 2017, there have been no boundaries to intrepid walker Ron Hedley’s remarkable fundraising exploits for prostate cancer awareness.

For the last few years, Ron has worked – and walked - side by side with, Prostate Cancer UK and the Bob Willis Fund, raising money to fund lifesaving research and to increase the knowledge and awareness of prostate cancer, the most common cancer in men.

It was when watching Prostate Cancer UK ambassador Jeff Stelling on Sky Sports in 2017, that Ron, 74, took an interest in the charity’s work.

Maldon and Burnham Standard: Smiles - Jeff Stelling is a Prostate Cancer UK ambassadorSmiles - Jeff Stelling is a Prostate Cancer UK ambassador (Image: PA Wire)

Walking and meeting men affected with the disease, reinforced Ron to speak to his GP as his brother had had prostate cancer.

Ron would himself be diagnosed in 2018.

A keen cricketer, and now with an unquenchable thirst for spreading the word about prostate cancer, he hosted a successful fundraising lunch at his local cricket club in 2019.

Ron then decided to organise short walks from all the home grounds he had played over-60s or over-70s county cricket at for Buckinghamshire CCC in 2021, inviting his teammates to join in.

The events grew in popularity and soon his cricket walks expanded to county grounds across the UK, doing laps of the boundary during lunch and tea breaks.

To date he’s hosted 20 walks, raising about £50,000.

Maldon and Burnham Standard: Fundraiser - Ron will stage 11 more walks before hanging up his boots when he turns 75 in SeptemberFundraiser - Ron will stage 11 more walks before hanging up his boots when he turns 75 in September (Image: Prostate Cancer UK)

This year he will stage 11 more walks before hanging up his boots when he turns 75 in September.

This Friday, on May 17, Ron is coming to the county for his Essex Seniors walk.

It will be from Central Park Café, Chelmsford to The Cloud County Ground, home of Essex CCC.

Walkers will be given a ticket to attend the day’s play and will be also to walk around the outfield during the tea interval to publicise the campaign.

Ron’s walks then take him to Derbyshire, Cheshire and Lincolnshire before the final, at Lords on September 25, his 75th birthday.

He said: “If by me getting prostate cancer it has saved the life of just one person and if the more than £50,000 my family, friends and teammates have donated so far, it has been worth all the difficult times and the invasive treatments I have had to suffer.”

Prostate Cancer UK chief executive Laura Kerby added: “We are so grateful for the continued support of Ron and his army of walkers raising vital funds and awareness for charity.

“Ron’s story illustrates just why more men need to be aware of the risk of prostate cancer.”