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Walkers’ £8,000 boost for charity
A team of walkers from Keighley district and their support cyclist completed a gruelling 127-mile trek to help people born with a rare neurological disorder.
Rett Syndrome is a genetic condition that almost exclusively affects girls – halting their physical and mental development.
The walkers included Thwaites Brow resident Alistair Dickinson, whose youngest daughter Estelle has Rett Syndrome.
He walked the length of the Leeds-Liverpool Canal in just four days with Richard Graham, from Keighley, Andrew Aspinall, from Silsden, and Mike Govier, from Farnhill. Michael Scott jnr, of Long Lee, supported them by cycling along the route carrying first aid essentials, extra water and food.
The £8,000 they have raised through the sponsored venture will go to the Rett Syndrome Research Trust UK (RSRT UK).
The five Keighley Cougars fans, whose fundraising effort was backed by the club, began their challenge from Liverpool on July 11.
The first day saw them take on a 34-mile leg to Wigan. They arrived at this destination at 9.45pm.
Mr Dickinson, 36, said the second day was even tougher and involved a 38-mile walk to Burnley. He said: “We arrived in Burnley at 11.15pm extremely tired, sore and hungry.
“We desperately needed rest and so settled for crisps and a chocolate bar before bedding down for the night. Morale was pretty low at this point.”
On the third day he and his friends tramped 27 miles to Skipton, where they enjoyed their first well-earned pint of the walk.
The final day saw them reach the finish line at Leeds at 5.30pm, where they were enthusiastically greeted by a 20-strong group of friends and relatives, which included Estelle.
Mr Dickinson said: “The last ten miles were a slog, but as we walked around the corner and approached the last bridge we could see our loved ones in the distance on the bridge at Granary Wharf.
“A huge cheer went up and we raised our sticks in the air. We approached the last 50 feet and everyone applauded. We stopped and applauded them back.”
He paid tribute to the people who supported him and his friends, including Keighley Cougars which hosted a fundraising launch night shortly before the walk.
This included live music, an auction, raffle and a meal which raised a total of £2,200. The occasion was attended by about 120 people.
Mr Dickinson said: “It was a truly fantastic evening bringing fun and entertainment to the people who have helped us from the outset. Everyone that I have spoken to since the night has told me how much they thoroughly enjoyed themselves.
“I’d like to continue fundraising for RSRT UK and propose to recreate this event again next year. We hope to plan annual events for 'awalkforestelle' starting with the Dales Way in 2013, which is 84 miles from Ilkley to Windermere. That will include a launch night once again with auctions and raffles.”