Cultivo Lounge pair to trek from Letchworth to Brighton for Parkinson’s UK

Melissa Birks and Ben Roe at the Cultivo Lounge in Letchworth ahead of their three-day trek to Brigh

Melissa Birks and Ben Roe at the Cultivo Lounge in Letchworth ahead of their three-day trek to Brighton in aid of Parkinson's UK. Picture: Melissa Birks - Credit: Archant

Two co-workers from a Letchworth bar are to trek all the way to Brighton next week to raise funds to help fight Parkinson’s disease.

Melissa Birks and Ben Roe are the duo taking on the challenge in aid of charity Parkinson’s UK, over three days from Monday to Wednesday.

The 93-mile challenge will see them walk from the Cultivo Lounge in Leys Avenue to the Al Campo Lounge in Brighton, which is part of the same chain.

Ben and Mel, who both live in Letchworth, were inspired to raise money for Parkinson’s by the affect it has had on a member of Mel’s family.

Mel told the Comet: “Parkinson’s is a big part of my life because it has affected a close family member.

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“Neither of us has ever done anything like this before. We had wanted to do the London-to-Brighton bike ride, but it was on Father’s Day so things were too busy at work. So we just thought we’d go walk it instead!

“We’ve been practising a lot with walks on the Greenway. We’re like little and large – I’m 5ft 4in and he’s 6ft 4in, so there’s a big difference in the stride!

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“The support we’ve been getting has been fantastic, especially because Parkinson’s does affect quite a lot of people – it’s amazing how many people have stepped forward since we started this, saying it’s affected their family as well.”

The pair’s challenge is part of Lounge Aid, an initiative run through the summer months in which each member of the Loungers chain fundraises for charity.

Mel is taking on the trek despite living with rheumatoid arthritis, which affects the joints. They had been set to walk last month, but put it off after Mel sprained her ankle.

Cultivo’s fundraising has also seen leg-waxing, a head-shave and more – with £833.40 raised so far towards the target of £1,000.

Ben and Mel will walk from Letchworth to London during the first day, leaving at 6am and going through Stevenage, Potters Bar and Cockfosters before stopping at Finsbury Park for the night at 7pm.

On Tuesday they will start at 7am and head straight through central London and out again the other side to Croydon.

Finally, on Wednesday, they will trek past Gatwick Airport and finish at the Al Campo Lounge in Brighton at about 5pm.

Mel said: “We’re planning to do 35 miles on each of the first two days, and 23 miles on the final day.

“One thing I’ve been told is there’s a hill coming into Brighton with a massive peak, and outstanding views from the top.

“I’m just looking forward to getting to the top and knowing we’re almost there.”

To find out more about the challenge or make a donation, see

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