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Blisters ahoy! Poole man takes on 5000-mile coastal walk for PCRF

20 February 2017

On 25 February, Cameron Dean (59) from Poole in Dorset sets off on an adventure of a lifetime to walk the coastline of Great Britain – a distance of some 5,000 miles – in memory of his mum and dad.

Cameron’s epic, gruelling challenge will take around nine months to complete and will raise vital funds for Pancreatic Cancer Research Fund.

“My mother, Margaret, was diagnosed with pancreatic cancer in September 2013. There were no warning signs. She died six months later in the February. Within a year my father passed away from heart and stroke related issues, but in truth he never really recovered from losing the love of his life and died of a broken heart. In my mind, I lost them both to this awful disease,” he says.

The Coastal Walk was something that retired civil servant Cameron had wanted to do for many years, but it was losing his mum and dad in such a short space of time that triggered the decision to finally make it happen.

“I realised that life slips by so fast that if I didn’t do it now, I never would,” he says. “So, with my wife’s blessing, I took early retirement from the Ministry of Defence, and started to plan.”

His solo challenge starts on the anniversary of his mother’s death and he hopes to be back in Poole on 5 November. Cameron’s  been planning and training for a year and  intends to walk between 18-25 miles a day for 10 days and have one rest day in between. “I could do more than that each day, but I want to be able to stop and stare at the landscape awhile,” he says. “I was in the Royal Navy for many years and I’ve always been drawn to the sea, but this walk will also let me take in the different landscapes, see local wildlife and eventually camp under the stars.”

Cameron will sleep in B&Bs and hotels for the first few weeks of his walk, Cameron Dean at Sandbanks, Poole - his 5,000 mile start and finish pointbut he’ll switch to outdoors when he reaches Wales and camping sites start to open. He’s also looking forward to wild camping in the Highlands, where he expects to be on his 60th birthday.  “I’ll probably celebrate on my own, though I suppose I’ll have plenty of company with all the midges there!” he says. “If I’m really lucky, I might get to see the Northern Lights at some point; that really would be fantastic.”

But as well as the potential highs, he’s is also anticipating a few low points over his journey. “As a younger man I was fit and ran two marathons, but I’m expecting a bit of joint pain and I’m worried about blisters too, although I suppose it’s inevitable,” he says. “I’ve stocked up on every blister remedy there is, but if all else fails, my wife and two daughters are all nurses, so at least I’ll be well- tended when I get back!”

While wife Mary “politely declined” the opportunity to join him on his walk (“She thinks I’ve lost some marbles!”), she will meet up with Cameron at several points over the nine months, and Cameron will be posting blogs on his Facebook page throughout his adventure to keep supporters updated on progress.

Says Pancreatic Cancer Research Fund founder, Maggie Blanks:  “Wow, this is an epic challenge indeed!  We’re hugely grateful to Cameron for fundraising on our behalf and to his family and friends for their support in helping to make this happen. It’s entirely thanks to our supporters that we can fund world-class research into beating pancreatic cancer.  We’re looking forward to seeing some amazing photos of Cameron’s travels!”

If you would like to support Cameron, his online giving page is http://www.justgiving.com/Cameron-Dean2

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