Reluctant Harrogate walkers set for epic challenge

The four intrepid charity walkers outside Harrogates Blues Bar - Kevin Warburton, Iain Dunn, Chris Warburton and David Armstrong.  (1708083AM1)
The four intrepid charity walkers outside Harrogates Blues Bar - Kevin Warburton, Iain Dunn, Chris Warburton and David Armstrong. (1708083AM1)

Four reluctant adventurers from Harrogate are getting ready to don their never-before-used walking boots to make the journey from one coast of England to the other for charity.

The nervous group of friends have been inspired by their own loved one’s traumatic experiences of cancer to walk from Eric Bartholemew’s statue in Morecambe and aim to the Captain Cook Memorial in Whitby.

Dave Armstrong, Kevin Warburton, Iain Dunn and Chris Warburton are tackling the self-financed 300km challenge next month to to raise awareness and vital funds for cancer charity Maggie’s current project to build a new cancer centre in Leeds.

Dave Armstrong said: “Both of Iain’s parents were diagnosed with cancer and we all have had family and friends suffer from cancer, so it’s really something which is close to most peoples hearts.”

The testing route will see the novice walkers trekking through the Lune Valley, Dentdale, Swaledale, Wensleydale, Nidderdale, the Vale of York, Ryedale, Farndale, Rosedale and Eskdale, while climbing 8800 metres, the height of Everest.

Dave Armstrong said: "We are not marathon runners or distance walkers by any stretch of the imagination. The walk is definitely going to be a challenge for us

"When Iain pitched the idea to me over a pint down at the local it sounded quite easy on first thoughts but having tested the water a little I realised it is going to be a lot tougher than I first imagined.

"And no there are no hotels with comfy beds for us on route, we are camping where we can do and roughing it when we can't."

They will also be joined on part of the walk, which sets off on Saturday, September 2, by friends and supporters including Graham Johnson, a consultant at Leeds Teaching Hospital Trust.

Two of their Harrogate friends Ian Armstrong and Vic Dockree will ac as the support crew for the four main walkers.

Iain Dunn said that the best thing about the Maggies charity was it gave the sort of all-round support for all family members he had lacked in his own life story.

He said: “When my brother and I were about nine and eight-years-old our mum had cancer.

She was in hospital a lot of the time but survived, fortunately.

"Twelve years later it was dads turn. He was very ill for several years.

"Again there was no support or advice for us. Our parents had separated.

"We had no idea what would happen. Derby Royal Infirmary were fantastic, then he died and that was it, just move on.

"A centre like Maggies would have been so much help, first for my dad and later for Pete and I.

"We both struggled to cope with his death and then struggled with the will and the finances."

The team have set up a JustGiving page for donations.

Dave Armstrong said: "The most obvious and important thing is we need people to support us, join us, jump on board and help us raise some pounds for this great cause.

"No matter how small a donation every pound counts. Reaching out and giving feels good."

The four novice walkers have also organised a fundraising music day at the Blues bar on Saturday, September 9.

To make a donation at JustGiving, search "coast to coast maggies."