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A Scarborough man is set to take on a gruelling 97 mile walk over just six days to follow in the footsteps of British fell walker, guidebook author and illustrator Alfred Wainwright MBE, in a bid to raise funds for a North Lincolnshire hospice which is caring for his good friend.

Ray Clarke (68) will depart from Windermere on Saturday 1 June in his quest to complete Wainwright’s Lost Tour. Covering lakes, mountains and valleys in the Lake District, he will be raising sponsorship for Lindsey Lodge Hospice in Scunthorpe, which provides care for his friend of 52 years Chas Dowie, who has Motor Neurone Disease (MND).

Ray, who has already clocked up more than 2,000 miles walking the North York Moors and in the Yorkshire Dales over the past eight years, said: “Chas and I were just 15 years old when we first met at Harrogate railway station, about to become army telecommunications apprentices at Intake of 67B-Army Apprentices College.”

“Following our graduation we both enjoyed army careers, Chas as a telecommunications technician and me as a telecommunications operator, but we lost touch with each other until 40 years later, when we met up at the Victory Service Club in London, after making contact through Forces Reunited.”

He added: “We recognised each other straight away and our friendship took up just where it left off – and in 2009, the two of us along with some of our other colleagues began meeting up in a bar in Harrogate as near as possible to 9 May, which is the date we all first met.”

Chas, of Epworth, has always been a keen athlete and is part of the team which has held the British Army 4 x 400 metre record since 1971. He was planning to do the 42-mile Lyke Wake Walk with Ray, before receiving his MND diagnosis.

He has since been attending Lindsey Lodge Hospice as a day patient once a week for nearly two years.

Chas said: “I would love to have done this walk with Ray, and in my head I’ll be with him every step of the way!”

“Ray comes to visit me at home every Thursday and I was very touched when he suggested raising money for Lindsey Lodge, particularly as he’s decided this will be his last back to back walk.”

He added: “The Hospice helps me in so many ways; it’s a real lifeline for someone like me.

“Not only do I get access to specialist health carers who monitor my physical and mental health, I meet other patients with similar experiences, who I’m able to talk with and share information on how we’re affected and what we do to cope, I feel a true sense of belonging when I’m there.”

For over 27 years Lindsey Lodge Hospice has been providing high quality, specialist palliative care services to adult patients and their families living with life-limiting illnesses. It relies on fundraising and charitable donations to raise more than 80% of its £3.5 million annual running costs.

Ray will be walking alone at his own pace over six days, between Saturday and Thursday, resting in youth hostels during the evenings. He will be relying on Ed Geldard’s book ‘Wainwright’s Lost Tour’, written and published following discovery of notes written in 1991 by the then sole surviving team member W E Maudsley. All the while, he’s hoping to raise as much money as possible in support the Lindsey Lodge Hospice.

Chas said: “I’d like to wish Ray all the very best for his epic walk.

“I can’t be cured, but I can be cared for, and that’s what Lindsey Lodge Hospice does, it’s a truly local charity that cares for local people – just like me.”

To sponsor Ray, please visit his fundraising page here
Ray Clarke (left) is pictured with friend Chas Dowie (right).

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