Two friends are embarking on a walking challenge from Manchester to Blackpool to host an event with a homeless charity.

Joshua Hudson, from Bury, is taking on the challenge along with his friend Mike Addison to run an event with Homeless House, a charity based in Manchester, for anyone who is not looking forward to Christmas this year.

On Sunday, December 10, the pair will be picked up by Manchester’s Homeless House director Antonia Gough and driven 55 miles to Blackpool Tower.

The two men will set off at 3am for the walk back to Manchester Beetham Tower complete with Mr and Mrs Claus outfits, in a bid to raise enough money to help Homeless House support those struggling this Christmas.

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Joshua said: “I have battled mental illness and suicidal tendencies for 15 years and I am someone who has never looked forward to Christmas.

“I want to do everything I can for as many people as possible this Christmas and every Christmas going forward because heartbreakingly, there are a lot of people, who like me, also won't be looking forward to Christmas for a number of reasons.

“I want to help those people experience the merriness, joy and love that they deserve.”

Joshua has been openly sharing his ongoing battle with mental health and is the founder of The Happiness Project UK on Instagram.

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The event will be open but not limited to:

• Those who have lost someone this year and are bracing themselves for the first time without them.

• Those who will be spending it alone because they have no family to celebrate with.

• Those with mental health issues that won't just magically disappear just because it's Christmas.

• Those with eating disorders who are worried about holding onto recovery when everything is so food centred.

• People who are struggling with the cost of living and can't afford the Christmas they deserve.

• The LGBT community who are not able to fully be themselves around family because it might not be safe.

• Children in care homes who dream of having a family to wake up and unwrap presents with.

• Single parents who are exhausting themselves trying to make sure their children's Christmas is "perfect" with no help or support.

• The homeless community who will not have anywhere to go or anyone to share the day with.

• Anyone who is just feeling overwhelmed and like they cannot keep up with it all.

Joshua added: “I want to create an event for anyone who is alone, struggling, has nowhere to go or just simply doesn't enjoy Christmas to come along and have a warm meal, receive a small gift and just feel less alone this Christmas Day.”

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Antonia Gough, founder of Homeless House, said: “It was fantastic to receive the call from Josh and to hear that he would like to not only help during this festive season but that he wanted to attempt to raise the funds to pay for the meals we provide, for anyone struggling or alone this year. 

"I really hope people can get behind them both as take on the challenge of this 17 hour walk and come and say hello on route or give them a beep!”

A JustGiving crowdfunding page has been set up with a target of £1,000, which was reached in just 17 days, but any extra funds will be used to provide presents and gifts for a children’s home as well as helping the homeless going forward into 2024.

To donate, click here.

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