Samantha Bond supports niece in her round Wales walk
A young Londoner, with strong family links to the Afan Valley and the village of Abergwynfi in particular, is due to complete a 1,000 miles charity walk around the perimeter of Wales on Friday afternoon (August 10).
Among family members waiting to celebrate Nancy Bond’s return to Aberavon Beach - two months and two days after she left it - will be her aunt, the Downton Abbey and James Bond star, Samantha Bond.
At 21, Nancy is thought to be one of the youngest walkers to complete the “full lap” of Wales, which combines over 800 miles of the Welsh coastal path with the Offa’s Dyke Trail and Anglesey.
With over 300 followers glued to her daily posts on Instagram, Nancy – who walked up to 24 miles a day while carrying heavy camping equipment - has so far raised over £4,000 for BEAT, the eating disorder charity.
“My boots are falling apart, my feet are a horror show and I have the strangest tan lines that anyone has ever seen,” says Nancy, who will spend her last few days circumnavigating the Gower peninsula before heading for Swansea and Port Talbot.
“But I’m so excited about finishing, although I know I’m going to miss the walking, the amazing scenery and the astonishing kindness of strangers. People I have met along the way have been so kind.”
Her aunt will be leading the cheers to welcome her, if not “home” then certainly to a seafront that Nancy has known all her life.
“We are all so proud of her,” says Samantha, who played Lady Rosamund in Downton Abbey and was Miss Moneypenny to Pierce’s Brosnan’s James Bond, “and it’s so touching that she began and is now ending this astonishing walk on the front at Aberavon.
"My father, the actor Philip Bond, who died last year, spent the last 30 years of his life in Abergwynfi and had been bringing Nancy and her brother, Bill, to Aberavon since they were old enough to lick an ice-cream.”
Nancy, who is studying politics at Edinburgh University, is yet to decide whether she’ll be hanging up her boots once her epic walk is completed. “All I can think about at the moment is a big family lunch in Café Remo’s, a three hour bath and a big night out in Swansea. Mind you, I’m so tired I probably won’t make it past 10 o’clock.”
And while her walk is nearing its end, her commitment to raising funds for charity certainly has not. “If anyone would like to make a donation through my JustGiving page – of any size – I’d be so grateful.”