AN INTREPID adventurer walking 1,000 miles to Spain to raise money for the hospital which saved his life stopped off in Worcester this week.
Rob Steele set off from his home in Gosforth in Cumbria on Saturday, March 29 and passed through the Faithful City on Wednesday, April 16, stopping off at the headquarters of your Worcester News for a chat.
The 57-year-old is travelling to the city of Santiago de Compostela in north west Spain to raise money for specialist cancer treatment centre the Royal Marsden Hospital in London, where he was treated for non Hodgkin lymphoma in 1975.
“If it wasn’t for them I wouldn’t have seen 20 years old,” he said.
“This seemed like a good opportunity to help them.
“Doing the walk is the easy bit – raising the funds is the hard bit.”
Mr Steele has been strapping on his walking boots for charity once a year since 1994 and said he thought he should do something special for the 20th anniversary after doing a 1,000 km walk for the tenth anniversary in 2004.
Generous Rotarians along his route have chipped in to provide him with showers, parking for his support vehicle – which is being driven by his friend Dorothy Coupe for part of the journey –
and other support.
“I’m using a support vehicle for the UK leg so all the money I generate goes to the hospital,” he said.
“I haven’t got the strength to carry everything and the support vehicle his saved me about £2,000 in bed and breakfast costs.
“I’ve roped in all my friends and family to help and it’s costing them money.”
If all goes to plan Mr Steele will reach Plymouth on Sunday, May 4 in time to catch a ferry to the northern Spanish port of Santander, before walking roughly 305 miles to Santiago de Compostela.
“Worcester is the first cathedral city I’ve passed through,” he said.
“I’m right on schedule so far.
“But I live in fear of getting a bug or a sprain.”
The Royal Marsden Hospital – which counts Beatles guitarist George Harrison, celebrity mum Jade Goody and singer Dusty Springfield among its former patients – cares for about 50,000 people with cancer every year.
It was founded in 1851 by Dr William Marsden after the death of his wife from cancer and today operates from sites in Chelsea and Surrey.
To sponsor Mr Steele visit justgiving.com/rob-steele1.