Ray Hall (75) and his granddaughter Lottie Cooper completed a 2-mile fundraising walk together – albeit 300 miles apart – to raise over £4750 to date for the medical research charity Pancreatic Cancer Research Fund.
Ray, a retired chartered quantity surveyor who founded Hall and Partners construction and project management consultancy in Newcastle and a former Chairman of Age Concern Newcastle, was diagnosed with pancreatic cancer in September last year.
He and Lottie (12) both set off on their walk at 10am on Sunday 03 May and kept in touch throughout – Ray in Hexham, Northumberland and Lottie in Haslemere, West Sussex.
Ray surprised everyone by completing the 2-mile walk in just two stints. “Two miles is a lot for Dad at the moment and he gets cold very quickly, but being part of something so positive gave him that extra boost to keep going,” says Lottie’s mum, Nikki.
Says Lottie: “I phoned Grandpa and Grandma just before and then we facetimed halfway through our walk to check on him. I can’t wait to see Grandpa and give him a huge hug. He did so well!”
And while the family don’t know exact numbers, it’s clear from all the messages, donations and photos they’ve received that several hundred friends and extended family joined in the walk too, not just in and around West Sussex, Surrey and Northumberland, but also in London, Scotland, Cumbria as well as in Spain, Dubai and Australia.
In Spain, Ray’s goddaughter Sally and her husband joined the ‘Walk with Ray’ event on their local beach after stringent lockdown restrictions were lifted in just in time.
“It’s been wonderful,” says Nikki. “Dad was really buoyant all weekend. I think he realised just how much he’s loved.”
Ray said “This was one of the best days I’ve had since my diagnosis, and definitely the best since lockdown because it felt like I was with all my friends, even though they weren’t there in person.”
In addition to the numbers of people joining Ray and Lottie in their fundraiser, donations and good wishes have come flooding in, both from friends and from strangers – several of whom have lost loved ones to pancreatic cancer and have been touched by Lottie’s thoughtfulness.
Lottie said: “I would like to say to everyone who donated, thank you so much. All of this means so much to me and my Grandpa. It’s just unbelievable and I just can’t thank them enough for helping us.”
Nikki plans to put all the photos they receive into a photobook for Ray. She says: “Raising so much money is fantastic of course, and we feel we’ve found a wonderful charity that will use it to best effect. But it’s been just as important to spend time with dad somehow when time is so precious and when we all feel so helpless. Lottie – at 12 years old – came up with the perfect way to connect dad with and those people who mean the most to him all over the world!”
Maggie Blanks, CEO of Pancreatic Cancer Research Fund said:
“It’s been a joy to see Lottie’s determination and enthusiasm bringing so many people together, especially at such a difficult time. The fundraising total achieved is fantastic, and the overwhelming messages of support for Ray are a real tribute to him. We can assure Lottie that we’ll put every penny raised into driving the development of the early diagnostic test that she knows we are funding.”
If you’d like to help Lottie and Ray’s fundraiser, please go to