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Kalle on trail of his dreams.

Byline: By Liz Hands

Autistic 11-year-old Kalle Homewood is following his dream of walking in the footsteps of the Romans at the edge of their empire to trek 84 miles raising cash for the charity which helps him deal with his condition.

Dressed as a Roman soldier, Kalle, his mother Rhya and two of his three brothers, expect to make pounds 4,000 in sponsorship money by the time they finish their walk along the length of Hadrian's Wall on Sunday.

"Kalle first saw Hadrian's Wall when he watched the film Robin Hood Prince of Thieves. Now, he's obsessed with the Romans," said Rhya yesterday.

"He wanted to raise some money to buy computer equipment for his school and asked if he could do a sponsored walk along Hadrian's Wall."

Rhya, who is a child behaviourist, thought she could take Kalle from Housesteads to Chesters - taking in Sycamore Gap, the section of the wall on which Kevin Costner is seen as Robin Hood.

"But, Kalle had other ideas," she said. "He wanted to do all 84 miles from Solway Firth to Wallsend. I tried to explain how far it was. I got out maps and showed him, but he was determined to do it so I thought `why not?'."

Because the family, including 14-year-old Frere who is also autistic and Bryn, 17, are walking such a distance, Rhya decided they should raise cash for a charity as well as their local school.

Most of the money made from their trek is now set to go to the British Institute for Brain Injured Children - which has given the Homewood family, who live in Canterbury, Kent, help in diagnosing the condition of the two boys and overcoming the problems it presents.

Making the journey from Birdoswald to Housesteads yesterday, Rhya said the trek was going well so far.

"It is a long way to walk for anyone," she said.

"And, we've got some of the toughest terrain today but the boys are determined to do it.

"We're doing around 12 miles each day and will be coming back to Chesters on Sunday when we finish because Kalle has been invited to take part in the Roman Festival re-enactment event there, which will be a great end to the walk for him."

Rhya said: "I'm not going to pretend having two autistic children is easy. We have been through hell so, of course, if I had any choice, I would prefer them not to have it.

"But they are both very talented. Frere is at a grammar school and will be starting GCSEs next year.

"He wants to go to university and so does Kalle.

"They can make a worthwhile contribution to society and have a fulfilling life. I think they are demonstrating that this week."

To find out how to sponsor Kalle, call (01227) 732254.
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Copyright 2003 Gale, Cengage Learning. All rights reserved.

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Publication:The Journal (Newcastle, England)
Date:Aug 19, 2003
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