Boy walks 1,700 miles from Sicily to London for 93 days to hug his grandmother


An 11-year-old boy spent 93 days walking 1,700 miles from Sicily to London with his father so he could give his grandmother a special hug.

Schoolboy Romeo Cox left Palermo on June 20 with his father Phil, 46, for a trip through Italy, Switzerland and France.

The pair fought a pack of wild dogs in Rome and even tame a wild donkey while heading back to the UK, where they are currently isolating themselves in Hackney.

Romeo Cox (pictured) spent 93 days walking 1,700 miles from Sicily to London with his dad so he could give his grandmother a special hug in lockdown

Romeo Cox (pictured) spent 93 days walking 1,700 miles from Sicily to London with his dad so he could give his grandmother a special hug in lockdown

The arduous journey included boat rides, bicycles and a donkey ride, but determined Romeo said it was ‘easy’ to walk thousands of miles on the way home.

During the father and son’s adventures, they slept in churches, hostels and camped under the stars, while some people offered them their homes.

Romeo finally reached Trafalgar Square on September 21 – 93 days after departure – but he will have to wait a little longer before hugging his beloved grandmother Rosemary, 77,.

It was a long way ahead when Romeo (pictured) and his father Phil started their 1700 miles from here in Sicily

It was a long way ahead when Romeo (pictured) and his father Phil started their 1700 miles from here in Sicily

It was a long way ahead when Romeo (pictured) and his father Phil started their 1700 miles from here in Sicily

Not an easy feat: Romeo and his father Phil walked for 93 days walking 1,700 miles from Palermo to London so he could give his grandmother a special hug

Not an easy feat: Romeo and his father Phil walked for 93 days walking 1,700 miles from Palermo to London so he could give his grandmother a special hug

Not an easy feat: Romeo and his father Phil walked for 93 days walking 1,700 miles from Palermo to London so he could give his grandmother a special hug

Romeo (second from right) even got 'bloody' feet, but the thought of seeing his grandmother (second from left) kept his mind high

Romeo (second from right) even got 'bloody' feet, but the thought of seeing his grandmother (second from left) kept his mind high

Romeo (second from right) even got ‘bloody’ feet, but the thought of seeing his grandmother (second from left) kept his mind high

The youngster – whose father is English and mother Giovanna Stopponi is Italian – isolates before reuniting with the pensioner who lives in Witney, Oxon.

Romeo said, “We got lost a few times. We slept under a hornet’s nest which was not a good idea, got bloody feet, but we never thought to give up. ‘

Romeo’s efforts, which moved from Hackney, East London, to Palermo last year, raised £ 11,000 plus for the Refugee Education Across Conflicts Trust (REACT) charity.

Romeo (pictured) travels through the Swiss mountains fighting a pack of wild dogs in Rome with his dad Phil and even tamed a wild donkey as they returned to the UK

Romeo (pictured) travels through the Swiss mountains fighting a pack of wild dogs in Rome with his dad Phil and even tamed a wild donkey as they returned to the UK

Romeo (pictured) treks through the Swiss mountains who fought a pack of wild dogs in Rome with his father Phil and even tamed a wild donkey when they returned to the UK

Looking back on the trip, Romeo added, “As we got closer, I kept thinking about seeing my grandmother, and how excited I was.

‘I can’t wait to give her a hug, it’s been over a year since I last saw her. She was all alone during the lockdown. ‘

‘I grew up on the best street in the world. Southborough Road! It is always home to me and my neighbors are like family. ‘

Romeo (pictured) slept in churches, monasteries and hostels and even in the wild under the stars, but he stayed focused and marched on

Romeo (pictured) slept in churches, monasteries and hostels and even in the wild under the stars, but he stayed focused and marched on

Romeo (pictured) slept in churches, monasteries and hostels and even in the wild under the stars, but he stayed focused and marched on

Romeo (pictured) and his father Phil enlisted the help of this donkey to help them carry their supplies and belongings during the trip

Romeo (pictured) and his father Phil enlisted the help of this donkey to help them carry their supplies and belongings during the trip

Romeo (pictured) and his father Phil enlisted the help of this donkey to help them carry their supplies and belongings during the trip

Unselfish Romeo was completely absorbed in his mission to make friends along the way, visiting child migrant centers and meeting refugees.

Romeo’s mother runs REACT, the refugee charity, and the money raised will go towards supporting the shelter of the organizations and community center in Palermo.

It will be used to purchase 50 tablets and will provide a Wi-Fi connection for refugees and local underprivileged children.

Romeo (left) and his father Phil's arduous journey included boat rides, bicycles and a donkey ride, but it was well worth the effort, says the youngster.

Romeo (left) and his dad Phil's arduous journey included boat rides, bicycles and a donkey ride, but it was well worth it, says the younger

Romeo (left) and his father Phil’s arduous journey included boat rides, bicycles and a donkey ride, but it was well worth the effort, says the youngster.

These children have become Romeo’s friends and helped him when he first moved to Italy and did not speak the language.

“I know some kids my age and older here in Palermo have missed all study during the lockdown because they can’t get online for classes and are already being banned and missed,” said Romeo.

‘Being able to learn online and learning digitally is important.’

Romeo (pictured) in a Care4Calais center, the non-profit organization helps refugees from war-torn countries stranded less than 50 kilometers from the British coast

Romeo (pictured) in a Care4Calais center, the non-profit organization helps refugees from war-torn countries stranded less than 50 kilometers from the British coast

Romeo (pictured) in a Care4Calais center, the non-profit organization helps refugees from war-torn countries stranded less than 50 kilometers from the British coast

Phillip Barrass, head of Southborough Road residents ‘association and organizer of Romeo’s homecoming added:’ Phil and Romeo’s neighbors gathered, suitably separated and masked, to mark their grand homecoming.

“A few of us walked the last miles of Trafalgar Square with them, and my legs still hurt from those tough five miles.

“We shared trifle, cake and Prosecco and listened respectfully as Romeo told us all why he did it, then locked the two safely in their home to begin their quarantine.”

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