St Albans and Harpenden retirees walk 100 miles for charity

PUBLISHED: 21:00 15 May 2017 | UPDATED: 13:37 16 May 2017

Left to right: Richard Gibbs and Ken Campbell.

Left to right: Richard Gibbs and Ken Campbell.

Richard Gibbs

Two determined walkers from St Albans and Harpenden hiked 100 miles in five days to smash their goal and collect £4,000 for charity.

Ken Campbell, a former sound engineer from St Albans, and Richard Gibbs, a retired St George’s School teacher from Harpenden, did not let the fact they are both in their 60s stop them trekking the length of the South Downs to raise money for the Alzheimer’s Society.

After originally aiming for sponsorship worth £3,000, the pair raised about £1,000 more than that.

To cover the distance from Winchester to Eastbourne between May 8 and 12, along the South Downs Way National Trail, the duo had to cross more than 20 miles every day including 4,000m of ascents and descents.

The last day they climbed more than 1,000m alone - about the height of the highest mountain in Wales, Snowdon.

Richard said it was “gruelling” and “tougher than [he] expected” but “it was, however, really worth it”.

Adding: “It’s a great walk, we met some fantastic people, and the amount we raised exceeded all expectations.

“My legs are still sore, but my spirits are high.”

This cause is close to their hearts because both Richard’s wife and mother have suffered from the brain disease, which affects 850,000 people in the UK, according to Alzheimer’s Research UK.

Chief executive of the Alzheimer’s Society, Jeremy Hughes, said: “We are delighted that Ken and Richard are giving their time to support Alzheimer’s Society.

“Around 225,000 people will develop dementia this year, that’s one every three minutes.

“As a charity, we rely on the generosity of individuals like Ken and Richard to help us continue our vital work.”

Early symptoms of Alzheimer’s, which is often a precursor to dementia, include forgetting recent events, names and faces, becoming repetitive, losing items or putting them in odd places, getting confused about the date or time, and having problems remembering words.

It is still possible to donate to their trek by clicking here.

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I should probably have taken the hint! Walking out into the garden recently an unprecedented flock of thirty or more crows raucously greeted me from the treetops at the bottom of my garden. Cawing and croaking these big, black birds clung clumsily to the top most branches and twigs, jostling and flapping to stay balanced in a constant flurry of feathers. There is always something ominous about crows – they are after all carrion crows, the vultures of the bird world – always watching for scraps and weakness that might mean their next meal.

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