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81-year-old's 'well being' walks during shielding turns into 15-mile walk for hospice

An 81-year-old man who took up walking to boost his well being while he was shielding during the Coronavirus pandemic will be walking 15 miles along the Cotswold Way this weekend, in the hope of raising funds for a local hospice.

Peter Daniels, from Cheltenham, will be taking in the hills along the Cotswold Way from Painswick to Leckhampton in memory of his friend Norman Mansell, who received care at Sue Ryder Leckhampton Court Hospice.

In a walk he expects to take over seven hours on Saturday, October 17, Peter will scale the heights of Coopers Hill, Crickley Hill, Birdlip and Leckhampton Hill in a bid to raise funds for the local hospice charity.

Peter said: "I always used to exercise on an indoor rower at my local gym, but when the Coronavirus pandemic hit I had to spend 12 weeks self-isolating at home from mid-March until the end of June.

"Everybody is doing what they have to do during the pandemic, and walking became one of the few things I could do while we were shielding."

"Walking is wonderful. Self-isolating at home did make me feel depressed and I found I felt so much better after a walk.

"Physically being outside, even just for half an hour, during the day is a great tonic. It stops depression. It takes your mind off other things. It doesn't have to be far - even just a short walk around the town or area where you live can lift the spirits.

"I started out with some short walks of five to six miles and then walked my way up to 12 miles, which I completed last Friday in training for my charity walk."

After hearing about how the Coronavirus pandemic had impacted Sue Ryder Leckhampton Court Hospice in the charity's emergency appeal, Peter decided to take a step further and raise funds for the hospice with his walking.

"As a member of the Freemasons I have helped at Sue Ryder Leckhampton Court Hospice's Autumn Fayre, and I was given a tour of the facilities. I was struck by what a marvellous facility it is.

"I was so impressed by the care they give and the whole set-up there for people coming to the end of their lives. People are treated with care and dignity and their care is very personal. You are not just a number.

"When I heard how the hospice had been impacted by Coronavirus and relied on fundraising I wanted to do something to help, so I signed up for their Walk to Remember where you can walk a route you like in October in return for sponsorship.

"I am completing my walk in memory of Norman Mansell, all the patients Sue Ryder has cared for, and for families needing the care and support of the hospice.

"The route I am attempting is a 15-mile very hilly walk from Painswick following the Cotswold Way past Coopers Hill, Birdlip, Crickley Hill, and on past the Devils Chimney at the top of Leckhampton Hill overlooking the hospice. The walk should take me around seven hours in total. I walk slowly but I just keep going!

"I love the views along that way and as mad as it seems I actually enjoy the challenge of walking up the hills. Knowing I am tackling this to help raise funds so somebody else can get the care and support they need when it matters really motivates me."

"I enjoy doing things to help people. I get a lot of pleasure out of it. It makes my day feeling I am helping somebody.

"I feel frustrated now as during the ongoing pandemic I can't go out, see people and offer my support so taking on this challenge is giving me a wonderful feeling to know I am doing something to help others."

Elise Hoadley, director of Sue Ryder Leckhampton Court Hospice, said: "We're really touched to hear how walking has helped boost Peter's well-being and that taking part in Walk to Remember is a great motivation for him.

"I want Peter to know how much of a motivation he is for us too. To know this weekend on the hills overlooking the hospice, Peter will be walking to raise funds for the care we're giving is very humbling. We will be with you every step, Peter."

You can donate to Peter's fundraising at https://www.justgiving.com/fundraising/peter-daniels5 

For more information on Sue Ryder Leckhampton Court Hospice visit www.sueryder.org/leckhampton 

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