Biggleswade friends smash 100-mile cancer charity walk to Great Yarmouth

PUBLISHED: 17:15 17 September 2018

Biggleswade's Darren Hatch and David Barkham on the Great Yarmouth seafront at the end of their charity walk. Picture: Darren Hatch

Biggleswade's Darren Hatch and David Barkham on the Great Yarmouth seafront at the end of their charity walk. Picture: Darren Hatch

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Two friends from Biggleswade have completed a 100-mile walk to Great Yarmouth to raise funds for Macmillan Cancer Support.

Biggleswade's David Barkham during the mammoth charity walk to Great Yarmouth. Picture: Darren HatchBiggleswade's David Barkham during the mammoth charity walk to Great Yarmouth. Picture: Darren Hatch

David Barkham, who has lived with leukaemia for more than 10 years, smashed the challenge with his friend Darren Hatch – walking for eight days until they reached the Norfolk town yesterday.

David and Darren have raised £1,240 for Macmillan Cancer Support through their efforts, which saw them spend one night sleeping in a tent outside a country house.

The house’s owner let them stay the night there after hearing what they were doing – and brought them out sausage-and-egg sandwiches for breakfast in the morning.

The walk started on Saturday, September 8, and took eight days – with each night spent in the great outdoors, apart from a stop in a hotel near the halfway point.

Biggleswade's David Barkham during the mammoth charity walk to Great Yarmouth. Picture: Darren HatchBiggleswade's David Barkham during the mammoth charity walk to Great Yarmouth. Picture: Darren Hatch

David was diagnosed with chronic myeloid leukaemia in 2007, when he was 16, and has had regular life-saving treatment at London’s University College Hospital ever since.

He visits the Macmillan Cancer Centre every three or four months, and he says the help and care he has received from the doctors and nursing staff has been “literally lifesaving”.

The Comet previewed the pair’s 100-mile fundraising challenge on the front page of the paper’s Biggleswade, Sandy and Potton edition back in July.

Speaking to the Comet at that time, David said: “Having cancer myself, I feel it’s time to give something back.

“I’m doing the walk to thank the charity that has helped me so much. I wouldn’t want to think what my life would be like without them. I consider myself very lucky to have been aided and supported by Macmillan.”

Darren has had two aunts diagnosed with cancer, one of whom tragically died last year after failed treatment for breast cancer. The other aunt has survived cancer twice.

On reaching the beach at Yarmouth, Darren said it was the “hardest thing I’ve done by far, yet the most rewarding”.

He added: “So mentally challenging, and could have easily quit when it got tough – yet we carried on and pushed through the pain barrier.

“Had so much support from so many people. I thank you all.”

You can still donate to the pair’s total at justgiving.com/fundraising/darrendave.

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