When friends David Brunskill and David Baker discovered they were both turning 80 on the same day, they decided to celebrate with an 80k walk along the Kennet and Avon Canal, giving themselves a three-day target.
They wanted to raise money for CLIC Sargent as Mr Brunskill’s daughter had previously been supported by the charity. The amazing pair completed the walk and have so far raised over £3,000.
Here, Mr Brunskill shares the story of how they planned their fundraising and their 80k route.
“A friend supplied us with maps and guides for the Kennet and Avon Canal, and a three day plan to walk the 80k (50 miles) meant starting at Kintbury near Hungerford, and a 17 mile–a-day regime would get us back to Bath after three days.
“We contacted CLIC Sargent to see what the fundraisers thought of our idea and the Bristol office could not have been more helpful. They were delighted with the plan, and supplied us with t-shirts, collecting boxes and wigs.
"We selected one red and one blue. We both belonged to various social, church and musical groups so we sent out appeals for support using our official JustGiving page, as well as personal appeals. A target of £1,000 was set, and our communications were sent out.
“We didn’t exactly rough it! Our wives accompanied us to Kintbury on Tuesday evening, where we enjoyed a good dinner together. The wives departed, and we enjoyed a comfortable B&B next to the canal, and set forth in improving weather along the towpath.
Setting the pace
“We settled into the walk fairly quickly – our pace and strides matched perfectly and we had lots to see and talk about. The canal banks supported lush green vegetation, teeming with bird song, and geese, swans, ducks and moorhens were plentiful, many with young.
“The first day ended rather early, reaching our B&B after only 14 miles. This meant we would have to yomp 22 miles the following day to keep to schedule.
"With an early start and beautiful weather – sun with a breeze – and interesting narrow boats and folk all along the way, the miles passed, we descended Caen Hill locks late afternoon, arriving at Semington around 7pm.
The end was in sight
“15 miles remained for the final day, with the added incentive of arriving in Bath and the end of the canal.
"The weather again perfect, we were joined by friends and relations along the towpath and on our way into Bath city centre.
"CLIC Sargent t-shirts were worn and wigs, and in the city we unfurled a banner, sang a song to some rather alarmed commuters, collecting some cash.
“With donations still arriving through JustGiving, we have collected an astonishing total of just over £3,000.
“We had a great time, two small blisters, enjoyed ourselves, were overwhelmed by the generosity of our friends – thank you so much – and maybe have helped some sick children along the way. It’s a good life."
Show your support
To sponsor the pair and help them raise money for CLIC Sargent, visit their official JustGiving page.