Pals Gary Swift and David Critchlow donned their walking shoes to tackle one of the world’s most spectacular pilgrimages to raise money for the Rotherham Hospital and Community Charity.
Gary and David, both 62, walked the route of the Camino Portuguese from Valenca in Portugal to Santiago de Compostela in Spain in September. The best fiends completed the 150KM, challenge in memory of Gary’s wife Diane, who sadly passed away at Rotherham Hospital aged 54 in 2015.
The adventurous pair raised £1,080 for the Charity’s Purple Butterfly Appeal, which raises funds to support end of life care for patients and their families at Rotherham Hospital.
Gary, of Kiveton Park, said: “We’ve absolutely loved doing our first Camino. The scenery was beautiful, the locals we met were kind and lovely and it was wonderful to meet people from all different nationalities participating in their own Camino.
“We thought the journey would take us 12 days to complete but we did it in eight days because we we’re able to walk further each day than we thought. The hardest part was dealing with the hills in the intensely hot weather but we made sure we were up before the sun rose so we could get some miles in before the temperatures soared.
“It was a bit of a shock when we eventually got to Santiago because there were thousands of people all celebrating the end of their own Camino challenges or visiting the city, which after the peace and quiet of the Spanish countryside seemed even louder and busier.
“Once we arrived at the Cathedral in Santiago we were really proud to finally receive our Compostella once we’d proved to the authorities we’d completed the route.
“We enjoyed it so much we’re already looking into doing another Camino next year and I’ve signed up for more Spanish lessons. I’d like to thank everyone who supported and sponsored us – it really spurred us on.”
The Purple Butterfly Appeal raises money to fund Purple Butterfly rooms. The £75,000 purpose-built rooms offer privacy and dignity to patients nearing the end of their lives, and their families. The money goes towards funding the building works, specialist equipment and facilities for loved ones to stay plus a television, fridge, microwave and a kettle.
Rotherham Hospital currently has three Purple Butterfly rooms, located on Ward A2, Fitzwilliam Ward and the Labour Ward.
Barry Mellor, Chair of the Charitable Funds Committee, said: “Trekking the Camino Portuguese is a lovely way to honour the memory of Gary’s late wife. It’s also wonderful to know that our intrepid fundraisers have helped to spread the word about the charity’s Purple Butterfly Appeal so widely.
We’re incredibly proud to have such dedicated and ambitious fundraisers and hopefully they will have inspired others to take on challenges like this in future.”
There’s still time to sponsor Gary and David by visiting: www.justgiving.com/fundraising/two-fat-old-men-walking.
For more information about the Rotherham Hospital and Community Charity please contact Suzanne Rutter on 01709 426821 or via Charity@rothgen.nhs.uk.