Monday, 06 December 2021
A LIBRARIAN from Sonning Common is taking part in her 19th walking challenge for charity.
Rosemary Dunstan, 65, set off today (Friday) along the 40-mile coastal path from St Ives to Penzance in Cornwall, aiming to finish on Monday.
She is raising money for the Institute of Cancer Research, which is based at the Royal Marsden Hospital in London, as she did with all her previous efforts.
Her last charity walk was in November 2019 when she took part in a 10-day expedition to Kerala in India, including climbing the 2,630m Meesapulimala Peak.
Mrs Dunstan, who lives in Birch Close and has managed the library in Grove Road since 2003, said: “I usually do some sort of charity event each year and I was thinking about going to Ecuador but then the pandemic happened.
“This year I thought I’d better still do something as I’m getting older and I want to keep doing things while I can so I thought, ‘Let’s do something in this country’. I’ve got family in Cornwall so I thought I could tick that off at the same time and I booked it in February.
“I have walked this path before but over several years, not three days, and when I was quite a lot younger. I just want to see if I can still push myself that hard.
“It is one of the toughest but has the most spectacularly beautiful stretches of the south-west coast path.” Usually, Mrs Dunstan’s challenges are completed with 20 to 30 other people raising money for different causes but due to the coronavirus restrictions she’s walking with just six others this time.
The walkers will have to camp for all three nights instead of staying in a hotel or bed and breakfast.
Mrs Dunstan said: “They had to change the rules a bit because of covid so you can add lack of sleep to the challenge.” For her training, she has been walking regularly over the last 15 months.
“The library has been closed due to the pandemic, so I’ve had extra time to walk,” she said.
“We have absolutely beautiful countryside around here and lots of different footpaths, so it really is the best for walking. I’ve been walking regularly but not usually more than eight miles at a time, and not three days in a row, so this is not going to be that easy.
“I just hope that after all this hot weather we don’t get horrendous storms because if the weather is bad we will have to change the route.
“There will be a support van there in case there is a storm or if someone twists an ankle or something but let’s hope that doesn’t happen.”
Mrs Dunstan, who has already raised £550 of her £1,000 target, said the Institute was always grateful, adding: “Tragically, one in three of us will develop cancer in our lifetime. Even if we are not directly affected, almost all of us will be moved by the pain and suffering cancer causes to a relative or friend.”
She hopes this will not be her final challenge as she wants to go back to India to complete another trek or visit Ecuador as she had planned.
“I have a few years left,” said Mrs Dunstan. “I’m getting old and I’m aware that time is running out so I advise other people to still do these things while they can.
“Not until I got into my forties did I discover my love for walking. The health walks started in Sonning Common and that got me out and exploring the area.”
To make a donation, visit www.justgiving.comfundraising/
21 June 2021
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