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Tuesday, 21 April 2015

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Thousands complete 48th Keswick to Barrow

THOUSANDS of people will benefit after determined participants raised hundreds of thousands of pounds in the 2014 Keswick to Barrow and Coniston to Barrow walks, writes JO-ANNE DAVIES

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THERE was blood, sweat and tears, as 2,921 conquered the 2014 Keswick to Barrow and Coniston to Barrow walks.

The 48th annual event went ahead, despite flooding along Coniston Water, with determined men, women and children
persevering through the downpours to reach the finish line in Barrow.

Completing the challenge was a significant achievement for everybody who took part, but was particularly poignant for those walking for charities and good causes close to their hearts.

Paul Madden was one of 33 people walking with the police team on behalf of his son Andy.

The 16-year-old is receiving treatment for cancer but was well enough to welcome home the finishers at Hawcoat Park Sports Club, in Barrow.

Mr Madden said: “It’s been a tough three years. He was diagnosed at 13 and has had treatment for two types of leukaemia and then he had his (bone marrow) transplant in January.

“He’s had a lot of side effects but nothing holds him back. He’s really, really determined.”

The four police teams raised money for the Rainbow Trust Children’s Charity, Ronald McDonald House, in Manchester, and Ward 84 at Manchester Children’s Hospital, in addition to the Motor Neurone Disease charity.

Paul Coulston, of Ulverston, was diagnosed with the disease, and his wife Clare, a Barrow police sergeant, has only a 30 per cent chance of surviving oesophageal cancer.

There was a turn out of 22 people walking for Dravet UK on behalf of two-year-old Broughton twin, Jake Smith.

Jake has a rare form of epilepsy, Dravet syndrome, which affects just one in 40,000 babies, of which about 15 per cent will die from the condition.

The toddler requires constant care and has to have two adults with him at all times, so just being able to take time out to complete the Coniston to Barrow walk was an achievement in itself for his mum, Stephanie Smith.

“Jake has to carry oxygen and emergency drugs everywhere in case he has a seizure,” she explained. “He’s had 100 seizures in the past year. But we’ve been really lucky because Furness General Hospital had already seen it before and they’ve been amazing.”

Jake and his twin sister Ella were at the finish line with Mrs Smith’s husband Wayne, and her grandparents, to cheer the team in.

Mrs Smith and Jake’s carers at Quarry Brow Nursery in Barrow completed the C2B for Dravet UK and the children’s ward at FGH.

Unless a cure or better treatments for Dravet syndrome are found, children like Jake face a diminished quality of life.

The 30-year-old added: “The overwhelming support has been out of this world. My personal sponsorship is over £1,400.

Every time I felt a bit tired or when it was chucking it down on Kirkby Moor I thought I can’t quit because I’d be letting everybody down.”

Dave Taylor, 51, of Dalton, completed the K2B in memory of Roy Turner, father of Mike Turner, who runs the Masons Arms in Dalton.

Mr Turner passed away last year. Roy’s Ramblers, a team of 11, were raising money for Diabetes UK.

“I’ve blisters and shin splints. The last 10 miles were hell. I’ve been bandaged up about five times,” said Mr Taylor, who was among hundreds of people to limp over the finish line.

“Last year I got as far as Poaka Beck and couldn’t walk any further. I said no way was I going to do it again, but after last year I went on a fitness regime. I’ve lost five stone; I’m going to the gym, cycling, walking and loving every minute of it.”

Despite being in physical pain Mr Taylor remained upbeat at the finish.

“I’ve been talking to people from Devon, Manchester, all over. It was a really good atmosphere. It’s a good event and well run. The ambulance crew were brilliant and patched me up a few times. I keep saying ‘never again’ but then Alzheimer’s kicks in and you forget what it’s really like.”

Walkers for Team Judy were among many raising money for St Mary’s Hospice, in memory of Judy Griffiths, who passed away in January last year.

Lee Burgess, 29, of Barrow, explained his motivation: “My partner’s mum sadly died of cancer. It was my first time; I’m pleased I did it.”

Mr Burgess walked in with his brother Scott, 24.

“People said we wouldn’t even finish which gave us the encouragement to do it,” he said. “We’re not going to do it again though.”

St Mary’s Hospice was one of the main beneficiaries of last year’s walk, receiving £20,000 from the K2B committee to help fund an extension for a new day hospice unit and education suite.

Head of income generation at the hospice, Zoe Guest, represented the hospice in the C2B.

She said: “We’re one of the charities to directly benefit from the K2B. It’s difficult for me, as an individual, to raise money because I’m always asking for different things but people are very generous and keep supporting us.”

A team from Furness General Hospital’s intensive care unit completed the C2B in aid of the Motor Neurone Disease Association.

Team co-ordinator Allyn Dow, said: “We’ve raised close to £1,000. We’re going to have a pie and a pint to celebrate and a couple of people from the ICU are coming to meet us and I think they’ve got a bottle of champagne.”

Hundreds of charities and good causes will benefit from the contribution of the participants and those who sponsor them. The K2B committee hopes to meet the target of raising between £360,000 and £380,000.

  Male Female Boy(U17) Girl(U17) Total
K2B Started 1356 893 80 60 2388
K2B Finished 1241 798 66 52 2157
C2B Started 181 412 83 104 80
C2B Finished 177 407 79 101 764


Have your say

Well done Matthew Rourke on being first youth home in 6hr 30 mins and beating your pb.
Also well done Team Jake!!!

Posted by shelley on 12 May 2014 at 16:04

I just want to thank all the volunteers and supporters who make the walk possible. So many thanks too for all the people who called out to wish me well as I passed including the lovely police on all the road crossings. I had a wonderful day!

Posted by Heather Wyatt on 12 May 2014 at 15:38

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