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Last Updated: Wednesday, 21 April, 2004, 08:56 GMT 09:56 UK
Thieves steal charity walker's shoes
In her quest to become the first woman to walk round Australia, Deborah De Williams was expecting a number of challenges.

She braved Cyclone Fay when it hit Western Australia earlier this month, then walked knee-deep through water in the ensuing floods.

But one obstacle she was not expecting was the theft of her shoes.

According to Australian media, Ms De Williams has been travelling since 17 October last year, in her quest to cover 14,600 km in just 259 days - averaging 20km a day.

I keep thinking of the Mark Twain quote: 'Forgiveness is the fragrance that the violet sheds on the heel that has crushed it
Deborah De Williams
Her journey was on course until she arrived in Halls Creek on Saturday, when thieves stole four pairs of walking shoes from her support van, along with her wedding ring, digital camera and mobile phone.

Five people have since been arrested in connection with the theft, and some of Ms De Williams' belongings have been recovered.

One of the suspects was wearing a pair of Ms De Williams' shoes at the time he was apprehended, Senior Police Constable Greg Ukich told the Australian news agency AAP.

"I am not bitter or angry with the people who have done this. I keep thinking of the Mark Twain quote: 'Forgiveness is the fragrance that the violet sheds on the heel that has crushed it," Ms De Williams told reporters.

She is hoping to raise A$250,000 (US$182,500) for charity from the walk, which should now be able to get back on the road.


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