A SOLDIER on an incredible 700 mile barefoot march for his daughter is continuing to make his way through the region.

Major Chris Brannigan is raising £400,000 for gene therapy for eight-year-old Hasti, who has a rare genetic disease, Cornelia de Lange Syndrome (CdLS).

His Hope for Hasti fundraising campaign has now raised almost £425,000, which will go towards research into the condition, which currently has no treatment.

CdLS is characterised by reduced growth, feeding problems, speech and language difficulties, hearing problems and, in many cases, limb abnormalities, but it is rare for children with the condition to become adults who live independent lives, often needing round the clock care for their entire lives.

Major Brannigan started 29 days ago in Lands End and has walked 550 miles, reaching Darlington today, where he cooled off his aching feet in the water steps in the town centre.

He said: "They are really, really painful if I'm honest. The roads are really sharp. They are covered in glass and aggregate and stones. It's just not pleasant.

"Every step is painful but while I can choose to stop, my little girl can't just choose to be better.

"Every step is a step closer to her getting the treatment she needs to give her a healthy life."

The Northern Echo:

He was joined by Mayor of Darlington Councillor Chris McEwan for the final part of his walk into the town.

Major Brannigan, who served in Afghanistan, was welcomed to Catterick Garrison on Tuesday, where his family popped in for a visit.

The next stage of his epic walk will take him to Durham, on his way to his final destination of Edinburgh.

To find out more, or to donate visit www.justgiving.com/campaign/hopeforhasti