Graeme Simpson lost his mother, Maureen to pancreatic cancer when he was just 24 years old. It’s one of the reasons why the site manager of a Suffolk housing development has walked along Hadrian’s Wall to raise money for a charity very close to his heart
Graeme Simpson remembers his mother as being full of life and love. The site manager for partnership housing developer, Lovell, lost his mum, Maureen when he was just 24 and says: ‘I am probably yet to meet anyone like her and probably never will.’
And that’s one of the reasons why Graeme – site manager at The Acorns, a Lovell development in Walsham-le-Willows in Suffolk – returned to his northern roots to undertake a charity walk along Hadrian’s Wall to raise money for a charity that is close to his heart.
Recently, one of his closest friends, Joanna Millington, was nearly taken by the same disease. Graeme takes up the story: ‘It has also nearly taken one of my oldest friends. Thankfully, thanks to the fantastic nurses and doctors of the NHS, she is still with us.
‘So, I decided to do what I could and raise money for Pancreatic Cancer UK in memory of my mum and for people like Joanna.’
Pancreatic cancer has one of the lowest survival rates of all cancers. Back in the nineties when Graeme’s mother was diagnosed, there was only a 4 per cent chance of recovery. Today, it has risen to just 10 per cent.
Graeme, who was born in Hexham, through which Hadrian’s Wall passes, walked the 84 miles (135km) from Bowness-on-Solway on the west coast to Wallsend on the east coast. The five-day trail follows the line of Hadrian’s Wall, along the way passing through some of the most beautiful parts of England – from rolling fields and rugged moorland to the vibrant cities of Newcastle-upon-Tyne and Carlisle.
He added: ‘Having not done a lot of walking, except the five miles or so a day I usually walk on-site, I have practised hard to prepare myself for this adventure.
‘The walk was amazing. It was harder than I expected but well worth the suffering my feet took. Some of the views across the Northumberland National Park were breath-taking. And, luckily, I was fortunate to have the weather on my side. I would recommend the walk to anyone!’
Graeme adds: ‘Cancer has affected nearly all of us at some point. We all know someone or have had a family member who has suffered from a form of cancer. Just within this last year, it has taken a man that hugely helped and influenced me in my job, and I miss him enormously.’
Simon Medler, regional managing director of Lovell in East Anglia, adds: ‘This is a fantastic cause that Graeme is supporting and all of us wish him the very best of luck as he walks from coast to coast. His fundraising efforts have been brilliant so far and we all hope he continues to raise more money for Pancreatic Cancer UK.’
So far, Graeme has had enormous support and encouragement from friends and Lovell colleagues, raising nearly £3000 so far.
Graeme’s JustGiving page is at https://www.justgiving.com/fundraising/graeme-simpson2.