Eighty-one year old Margaret Marande (pictured) finished her 220 mile walk, dubbed Hardyway4Harry, on 08 May. At 3.30pm she arrived at Hardy’s Birthplace Visitor Centre, completing her epic fundraiser in memory of her late partner, Harry Holberry.
In doing so, she’s raised both awareness of, and thousands of pounds for three causes close to her heart – Pancreatic Cancer Research Fund, The Shaftesbury Westminster Memorial Hospital and Hardy’s Birthplace Visitor Centre.
It’s not been easy: as well as the sheer physical challenge, she encountered the extremes of British weather too – including 25 degree heat and flash flooding -, but pressed on to finish on schedule.
Margaret was waved off by friends, family and charity representatives including PCRF’s CEO Maggie Blanks, on 18 April. She also had some high profile celebrity support, with Lord Julian Fellowes and Lady Fellowes joining Margaret prior to her departure as she was filmed by her local BBC news, and her friend the author Jilly Cooper sending her good wishes for the walk. Over the weeks, Margaret has been joined by friends and colleagues at almost every stage, including during the final week by former champion jockey Richard Dunwoody MBE (pictured below with family and Margaret).
“It’s been an unbelievable experience, has commemorated Harry in a way of which I think he’d approve and given me so much confidence that at 81, you can do anything!” said Margaret.
She added “Here’s to you Harry – who would have been the first to enjoy a champagne toast to celebrate the end of a walk that I hope will raise significant funds to help combat the killer disease that vanquished even your brave fight.”
You can see Margaret’s beautiful photos taken on the walk on her Facebook page: www.facebook.com/hardyway, where you can also read the posts she made along the way.
Maggie Blanks, PCRF’s CEO said: “This is such a phenomenal achievement and we’re very pleased and proud that Margaret has chosen to help us fund more research into pancreatic cancer. The researchers we fund are keen for us to let supporters know how grateful they are for all fundraising efforts, and they’ve been astounded when we’ve told them about Margaret’s challenge!”