A 68-year-old university lecturer arrived in Bude after completing the latest leg of his annual charity round Britain coastal walk to raise awareness of Parkinson’s.
For many years, Tom Davenport had the desire to walk the 5,000 miles of Britain’s coastline after reading a book by Tom Isaacs called “Shake Well before Use” which tells the story of his life with young onset Parkinson’s.
In fact, Tom had his own experience of Parkinson’s after seeing Ray Wegrzyn, his schoolfriend from Xaverian College in Manchester, diagnosed with young onset Parkinson’s three decades ago at the age of just 39.
After Ray’s diagnosis, the pair set up their own charity, Parkinson’s EQUIP, to help other people with Parkinson’s improve their quality of life through sports and arts activities.
So, Tom had the means and the motive for his coastal walk, but there was one problem: he didn’t have the time. It can take up to four months to do the 3000-mile walk around the coastline non-stop – and as a full-time lecturer in mathematics and computing at Aston University, this was physically impossible for Tom.
Tom said: “So what do engineers do when faced with a large problem? They cut it into pieces! Ten years ago, I decided to dedicate two weeks of my academic holidays every year to completing it in stages of between 150 and 200 miles a year.”
Over the past ten years, Tom has covered the distance from Edinburgh to Dover to Land’s End to Tintagel in fortnight-long stages.
Over last weekend, he finished his latest leg at the resort of Bude. Tom is delighted to have shone a light on the work of Parkinson’s EQUIP along the way.
He said: “I’ve met some lovely people who spotted my charity t-shirt, asked questions, and kindly donated to our fundraiser.
“It’s my way of getting away from my desk and letting people know how we can help improve the wellbeing of people living with Parkinson’s through sports and creative activities — a bit like walking!”
To sponsor Tom, visitwonderful.org/fundraisers/R6OBn