A SON has completed a gruelling charity walk in memory of his father.

Gary Rushworth covered the 220-or-so miles, following Wainwright’s Pennine Journey, in 11 days.

And his marathon effort has raised over £1,000 for Alzheimer’s Research UK.

The 61-year-old set off from Settle, and headed north through the Dales to Hexham and Hadrian’s Wall.

He returned via Appleby and Dent.

“The scenery was spectacular and the weather couldn’t have been better for the time of year,” said Gary, a retired accountant and financial controller.

“It was a wonderful experience.”

Gary’s challenge was in tribute to his dad John ‘Jack’ Rushworth, who died last year.

John was born in Keighley in 1925 and brought-up in the town.

He later moved to Carlisle and became head of motor engineering at the city’s technical college.

Dementia affected him in his latter years, and he had been in a nursing home since 2014.

When Gary arrived back in Settle at the end of the walk, he was met by his sister and brother-in-law and they had Yorkshire fish cake and chips – one of his late dad’s favourite meals – in his honour.

Planning for the challenge took place before John’s death, in October, but the events of a year ago refocused the emphasis.

“I have walked in Alfred Wainwright’s footsteps many times – completing his 214 fells of the Lake District, the coast-to-coast and the Pennine Way,” said Gary.

“It was while on a training walk for the latter last year, as I sat on a seat which commemorates Wainwright’s Pennine Journey, I took the decision to make it a memory walk to mark its 80th anniversary.

“That was the original plan, but when my father died it was only natural for me to remember him in this walk by raising funds to tackle the illness that blighted the last years of his life.

“His condition also had a profound effect on the family – with visiting him in the home being limited to looking at old photographs, listening to music or going through his scrapbook.

“But there were happy times, such as Christmases and celebrating his 90th birthday when the family enjoyed his laughter and smiles.”

During the walk, Gary followed as closely as possible the route that Wainwright had taken.

“He walked mainly on tracks and minor roads but that was 80 years ago and some of those roads nowadays are simply too busy,” he added.

“However I didn’t encounter any problems. It went swimmingly well.”

Gary thanks everyone who gave their support, including his wife Moira and daughters Emily and Katie “for allowing me to undertake the challenge”.

He added: “I’d also like to thank Emily and my friend of over 50 years, Guy, for standing in for me in caring for my wife while I was on my journey, everybody at Alzheimer’s Research UK for their fundraising guidance and all those who have generously donated to help provide the ‘power to defeat dementia’.”

Gary set-up an online fundraising page, at justgiving.com/fundraising/garyspenninejourney, where donations can still be made.