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Britons' paths cross on separate missions

July 14, 2006|by ERIN JULIUS

WASHINGTON COUNTY

Washington County experienced its own British invasion Thursday when three backpackers, all hailing from England, hiked their way through Maryland on two different missions.

Phil Goddard, 47, walks solo in memory of his late wife, while Stuart Hamilton, 31, and Dave Toolan, 30, teamed up because, "we wanted to do something big and adventurous and stupid," Hamilton said.

Though the two parties are taking separate routes across country, they have talked via cell phones.

Goddard, 47, walks with a mission: to raise money for cancer research. His wife, Jayne, died of colon cancer in January.

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"We traveled an enormous amount together, we were trying to see every country in the world. Part of this walk is teaching myself that I can travel on my own and still enjoy myself," Goddard said.

He started his walk in New York and plans to finish in Los Angeles in eight or nine months.

Goddard spent Wednesday night and Thursday morning at the KOA campground near Williamsport and will plan the next phase of his walk using recommendations from local people.

Walking along U.S. 340 through Lancaster, Pa., was Goddard's favorite moment so far.

"The lovely, rolling farmlands and fields of maize ... it was a really lovely day," he said.

Goddard has raised $14,000 in pledges from friends and family in England and said he hopes to match that amount as he walks the roads of America. Proceeds go to the Association for International Cancer Research.

Hamilton and Toolan are raising money for the British Heart Foundation. Hamilton said heart disease was an issue close to home because his father suffered a heart attack last year.

The pair spent last weekend in Harpers Ferry, W.Va., and this week hiked through Sharpsburg and Williamsport.

"We're meeting loads of really cool people, which is why we came," Hamilton said.

Hamilton and Toolan are splitting their trip, planning to hike into Colorado until about November, and then returning to the U.S. in 2007 to complete their trek to San Francisco.

"America's image in Europe is very, very low, and I wanted to see if the image is right," Hamilton said.

Americans have thus far proved their European stereotypes wrong.

Penny Pittman, owner of the bakery where Hamilton had lunch, offered to put the two up in a motel for a night to get them out of the rain.




· To follow Stuart Hamilton and Dave Toolan, visit their Web site at www.walkingthestates.com.

· Phil Goddard regularly updates his Web site at http://www.justgiving.com/uswalk.

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