A grieving daughter completed an 84 mile walk along Hadrian’s Wall and raised nearly £3,000 for charity in memory of her dad.
Linda Blatchly, from Leicestershire, set off on the hike straight from her father Mike Brown’s funeral at Parson Drove, with a determination to finish the walk in around four days.
She also had a target of £1,000 to be split between the Alan Hudson Day Centre in Wisbech and the PSP Association.
But her determination saw her not only finish in a day less than anticipated but almost treble her fundraising target.
Linda explained her dad, an electronics engineer who worked on early warning systems for missiles, was diagnosed with PSP - a neurodegenerative condition that gradually erodes motor function whilst leaving the brain fully functioning -in November 2014. However, he had been ill for sometime but because PSP is a relatively rare condition it is not always easy to diagnose.
Mike died on June 26 which made the already planned walk into a memorial fundraiser. Mike and his family were given a lot of help by the PSP Association and he was supported on a local basis by the staff at the Alan Hudson Day Treatment Centre in Wisbech. which offered a weekly activity session his wife some respite. Linda said: “Because dad’s funeral was being held on July 14 it was a bit of a race against time: initially I was planning to start on July 13 and finish any time up to July 19. Instead I drove to Newcastle immediately after the funeral and then started walking on July 15, which meant I needed to do a minimum of 17 miles a day for five consecutive days to finish on time.
“I began walking at 8.30am on Saturday (15) and managed to walk 22 miles on day one, and reaching the half way point (42 miles) at the end of day two. Despite a tricky day three with lots of ups and downs - quite literally! - I managed to finish at 4.45pm on Tuesday July 18, after just four days. My daughter, Katharine, was my support crew for the walk: she collected me from my end point and returned me to the same point for the next day’s start, and kept me supplied with food, water and encouragement.
“At the funeral, we had white carnations tied with ribbons the colour of the PSPA: at the end of the walk, we laid two of these carnations at the gateway at Bowness-on-Solway, and toasted Dad with some bubbles of the Prosecco variety.”
Linda hopes her efforts will help raise awareness of PSP - which is often misdiagnosed as Parkinson’s or Motor Neurone Disease.
“It is a terrible disease. It slowly erodes the motor function but leaves the brain intact - it is a bit like locked in syndrome. My Dad was still in there but he could not communicate. He took part in every research project offered and donated his brain for research because he was so determined to help others with the disease. There will likely never be a cure, but research may find treatments that will help those affected by it,” said Linda.