Cancer patient completes walking challenge amid treatment in memory of wife

john lambert and hospice nurses

John Lambert completed a walking challenge the length of Pennine Way in memory of his wife and in aid of Garden House Hospice Care. - Credit: Garden House Hospice Care

A 65-year-old man suffering from metastatic kidney cancer has completed his 268-mile walk  - at two miles a day – and more than doubled his initial fundraising target for Garden House Hospice Care.

Keen fell walker John Lambert was determined to walk the length of Pennine Way through the North Herts countryside while fundraising for the hospice, which supported him through his wife Sue’s terminal cancer in 2019.

Despite suffering from cancer himself, experiencing side effects such as arthritis and cancer-related fatigue and even undergoing a brain operation in late 2020, John persevered and completed his challenge with a final walk from Letchworth Golf Course to to the hospice in Gillison Close, where he was welcomed by  staff.

During his challenge, John marked out every two miles of the Pennine Way route and would map his walks against this. He used his Facebook page to update family and friends of his progress.

His initial fundraising target was £1,200, but thanks to online fundraising and other donations he has now raised more than £3,500.

john lambert and hospice staff

John Lambert completed the challenge by heading to the Letchworth-based hospice. - Credit: Garden House Hospice Care

The 65-year-old said: “It feels great to have finished. When I started this challenge I wasn’t that confident as I was using a walking stick, so I assumed I’d do the same route close to my house every day.

“However, as I got fitter and stronger I found plenty of other routes, taking in Hitchin, Letchworth, Wymondley Woods, Ashbrook and the Lister Hospital, plus some further afield including Royston and Barton Hills.

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“Since starting the challenge in July, I had just three days off: one for a planned brain operation, the next day to recover and another when the weather stopped me.

“Fortunately, as my daily walk only used to take 60 to 90 minutes, I could plan them around the weather forecast so I only got caught in a few showers.

John Lambert is walking the distance of Pennine Way to raise money for Garden House Hospice Care, after the charity...

John Lambert is walking the distance of Pennine Way to raise money for Garden House Hospice Care, after the charity supported his wife Sue through her terminal cancer. Picture: Garden House Hospice Care - Credit: Archant

“I would like to thank everyone who donated money to my Pennine Way walk and those people who supported by accompanying me on these walks and giving me encouragement.

"I’d also like to give a special mention to my friend Matthew Fitzgerald, a lovely young man with a wonderful personality who has always been there for me throughout this challenge.

“The hospice has supported me in so many ways and I’m delighted to have given something back.”

Richard Harbon, head of events at Garden House Hospice Care, added: “We were delighted to welcome John to the hospice to celebrate the completion of his Pennine Way walk with a much-deserved cup of tea and slice of cake.

“It’s a huge credit to John that he has achieved this with such a positive attitude, while undergoing his own personal challenges too.

“To more than double his fundraising target is also testament to how his story has captured hearts, with many donations coming in from the general public as well as family and friends.”

To sponsor John, go to

As a result of COVID-19 their fundraising events have been cancelled or postponed and their 12 shops closed. They are forecasting a loss of £25,000 a week which funds their free end of life care across the communities of North Hertfordshire, Stevenage and surrounding towns and villages in Central Bedfordshire and Cambridgeshire.

To find out more about how you can support the hospice, visit or call 01462 679540.

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