Coast-to-coast challenge for fundraisers backing Leeds cancer centre plan

Kevin Warburton, Iain Dunn, Chris Warburton and David Armstrong.
Kevin Warburton, Iain Dunn, Chris Warburton and David Armstrong.

Six hardy friends are limbering up for a coast-to-coast challenge that will raise funds for the new Maggie’s cancer centre planned for Leeds.

Iain Dunn, Kevin Warburton, Chris Warburton and David Armstrong, all from Harrogate, will be walking from Morecambe to Whitby over the course of 14 gruelling days next month.

Aided by support drivers Ian Armstrong and Vic Dockree, they will cover 300 kilometres and climb a total of 8,800 metres as they head through areas including Swaledale and Ryedale.

Proceeds from the walk will go to a Yorkshire Evening Post-backed appeal launched to raise £6m for the construction of the Maggie’s centre in the grounds of St James’s Hospital as well as its first two years of operation.

The centre, which will be a stone’s throw from the St James’s Institute of Oncology in the hospital’s Bexley Wing, will provide free practical and emotional support to cancer patients and their families.

Iain, 54, said: “When my brother and I were about nine and eight years old our mum had cancer. We didn’t even know! She was in hospital, that much we did know.

“I’m not sure dad had any idea how to help us, never mind himself. She survived fortunately.

“Twelve years later it was dad’s turn. He was very ill for several years.

“Again there was no support or advice for us, our parents had separated.

“[My brother] Pete was in the RAF and I was at university.

“He did come home for a bit. We had no idea what would happen.

“[The hospital was] fantastic, then he died and that was it, just move on.

“A centre like Maggie’s would have been so much help, first for my dad and later for Pete and I.”

Martin Jenkins, chairman of the Maggie’s Yorkshire Campaign Board, said: “We could not be more grateful to Iain and the team for taking on such an incredible challenge for Maggie’s.

“They have all put so much work into organising this and doing everything they can to ensure they raise as much as possible. They are an inspiration.”

The walk starts in Morecambe on Saturday, September 2, with a halfway house music event taking place at the Blues Bar in Harrogate on September 9.

To support the team’s fundraising, visit www.justgiving.com/fundraising/maggiescoasttocoast.

Any businesses interested in sponsoring the walkers can call Iain on 07910 038697 or e-mail iainjdunn@outlook.com.