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Grandad Michael Fletcher is fit for his 745-mile walking odyssey
AT 70 years old, most pensioners like to slow things down a little.
But for grandfather-of-three Michael Fletcher, from Thame, the adventure is just beginning.
On Tuesday he will set off on a gruelling 745-mile walk across Spain in memory of his father, Ronald, who died from cancer.
Mr Fletcher is hoping to complete the route from Cadiz in southern Spain to Santiago de Compostela in the north in seven weeks.
The father-of-two has had plenty of practice, having walked 522 miles through the Pyrenees last year.
He said: “I’m excited about taking on this challenge and this is the longest one I have done so far. I’m very determined and I’ve put a lot of training into it and I feel in great shape. “I’ve been going to the gym three times a week and I run 12 to 20 miles twice a week with a 12kg rucksack on my back.”
Mr Fletcher is taking on the challenge to raise money for Macmillan Cancer Support, a charity close to his heart.
He came into contact with the charity when his father Ronald, who lived in York, had cancer.
Mr Fletcher said: “I had to travel up to help him and it was almost impossible, but Macmillan nurses came in and it was a different story.
“They helped out so my dad fortunately didn’t suffer. He died a peaceful death aged 68 in 1988.
“I will be spurred on during the walk knowing that it’s all in aid of an incredibly worthy cause.
“My dad would have been very proud and supportive of my forthcoming adventure.”
Mr Fletcher will walk with Australian Rick Parkes, 69, a fellow walker he met in 2010 on the Camino Francés.
The two became close friends and last year walked through the Spanish Pyrenees together.
Much of the route is remote and without hotels and so the pair will camp or rely on local generosity for accommodation.
Mr Fletcher, who ran the Leather Bottle pub in Lewknor with his wife Lesley for 20 years, added: “The accommodation is not going to be anything like five star but the most important thing is going to be staying clear of injuries.”
He said his wife had great faith in him and liked to walk herself, but would not like the discomfort of such a long trek.
- For details and to donate visit justgiving.com/Michael-Fletcher-Treck
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