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Briton walks 24 hours along Algarve for charity
A 68-year-old British expat has set himself the challenge of walking for 24 hours non-stop along the Algarve Way in aid of Alzheimer’s Research UK.
Robert Pritchard, a retired building industry project manager, started training nine months ago for the task that is due to start at mid-day this Saturday, 5 May.
“I have been training at the municipal gymnasium in Silves and doing long walks to prepare for the challenge,” he told The Portugal News this week.
“My full-on training began at the end of last September with, for me, a quite a hectic base-phase with three gym sessions per week and three walks with steadily increasing distances,” he said.
Mr. Pritchard’s motivation to raise funds for Alzheimer Research UK is related to his personal experience of the disease.
“For the most part it is because my mother Ivy suffered this debilitating disease for some years and my mother-in-law Pat for 13 long years, both of whom I loved very much so I am well motivated to do this walk,” he said, adding: “I can understand very well the misery of close family and friends who watch their loved ones slowly descend into an ever darkening twilight world.”
According to Alzheimer’s Research UK, the UK’s leading dementia research charity, 820,000 people live with dementia in the UK alone, yet funds for research into the causes and treatment of Alzheimer’s is almost non-existent compared with that available for cancer and heart research, for example.
“This at a time when the potential cost to governments of the necessary 24 hour care for sufferers is completely overwhelming,” said Mr. Pritchard.
Throughout his preparation for the challenge, Mr. Pritchard has been supported by his wife and son as well as his good friend Uwe Heitkamp.
“Uwe accompanied me on a number of walks and without him I doubt I could have located the route (sometimes quite unclear). He is great company, full of humour and, being fluent in Portuguese, chats to some of the goat herders and shepherds and the old folks of the villages. Through him I have learned a lot more than just the route,” he said.
During the actual walk, Robert will be supported by his son who will meet him at various locations and provide some company on the walk at night.
“I am not attempting the whole 323km distance of the Algarve Way, so I’m setting off from Barranco do Velho and will be working my way west. I hope to reach Monchique but the prime challenge is to walk non-stop for 24 hours,” he said.
At the time of going to press, Mr. Pritchard had raised over £500 through his website, and although he has not set a formal target, he hopes to raise at least £1,000 for the charity.
For more information about Robert Pritchard’s walk, or to make a donation, visit his fundraising website at: www.alzheimerschallenge.co.uk or http://uk.virginmoneygiving.com/alzheimers-challenge
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