The retired Himley Park warden and Wombourne parish councillor first took on the arduous 1,000km South West Coast Walk in 2016 but did it in short bursts over five years with a hip replacement in between.
Last year his plans to tackle the trek in one go over seven weeks were thwarted twice due to Covid-19. But now he’s back on track to begin on May 17, wild camping along the way and hoping to raise another £10,000 for Cancer Research UK.
“This will be no easy walk,” said Alan, who is also a trustee of the World Owl Trust and an ambassador for Cancer Research UK.
“In addition to the 1,000 kilometres, it also involves over 35,000 metres of’ ‘up’, repeatedly going from sea level up onto high cliffs and back to sea level, all whilst carrying a loaded rucksack.”
No stranger to adventure, Alan has been a walker and mountaineer for most of his life and has climbed some of the world’s highest peaks including Argentina's Mount Aconcagua, Kilimanjaro, in Tanzania, Toubkai, in Morocco, and Elbrus, in Russia.
He began fundraising for Cancer Research UK in 2004 after losing his first wife Joan to cancer and, since then, has raised in excess of £46,000 through his adventures.
In a video filmed for the charity’s Walk All Over Cancer campaign, Alan said: “One piece of advice from an oldie – life is not a rehearsal. Make every day and every second count.
“I began walking all over cancer back in 2004 when my first wife died of cancer. We didn’t smoke, we didn’t drink yet she died of breast cancer at 51. I thought, there’s something wrong here, we have to find out why cancer triggers in some people and not in others. The only way to find out is with research.”
Alan’s training involves going up and down The Wrekin in Shropshire several days a week with 15 kilos in his rucksack.
“Life is all about challenges and this will certainly be one,” said Alan. “But it’s so motivating to know that the money I raise will be helping Cancer Research UK to bring forward the day when all cancers are cured.”
Alan pays all of his own expenses, which means that every penny raised goes directly to Cancer Research UK’s vital work into the prevention, diagnosis and treatment of cancer.
Paula Young, spokeswoman for Cancer Research UK in Staffordshire, said: “Alan’s adventures have blown us away over the years but the fact that he’s still hiking and fundraising after all this time is nothing short of amazing. We can’t thank him enough for his efforts.
“Thanks to research, survival has doubled over the past forty years. Covid has slowed us down but we will never stop. Our ambition is to accelerate progress so that by 2034, three in four people will survive their cancer for at least 10 years.”
To sponsor Alan, visit his fundraising page https://fundraise.cancerresearchuk.org/page/alans-giving-page-182 or text ALAN3, ALAN5 or ALAN10 to 70180 to donate £3, £5 or £10.