Wednesday 28 February 2024
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Nottingham

Care worker set for Land’s End to John O’Groats charity walk for Alzheimer’s

A popular Nottinghamshire County Council care worker is preparing for a gruelling charity walk to raise thousands of pounds for the Alzheimer’s Society.

Paul Lindsay, who is a Community Care Officer in the Rushcliffe Living Well team, will be walking the iconic Land’s End to John O’Groats route in April 2024.

He will be putting his best foot forward for the 1,200-mile trek to raise money for a charity which has supported him and his family following his dad Richard’s devastating Alzheimer’s diagnosis two years ago.

Paul, 49, of Radcliffe-on-Trent, aims to complete the mammoth fundraising challenge in two months and has set a target of £10,000 to help the charity purchase more scanners and carry out vital research into the neurodegenerative disease.

He said: “There are as many people being diagnosed with dementia as there are cancer on a day-to-day basis. Therefore, we need to plough more resources into this to make dementia a thing of the past for this and future generations.

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“We are a very close family. My dad was a senior social worker in my current team – the Rushcliffe Living Well team as it’s called now – and we saw a gradual regression of his skills. Now it’s really sad where he’s at.

“He’s still a man that physically is very fit, but he’s got what they describe as brain fog now – so struggles to do simple tasks such as shaving, bathing or looking after his personal hygiene.

“We do quite a bit as a family; we get him out exercising because that’s obviously good physically for him with the condition. He’s just such a nice, kind man and I just hope we can make this a thing of the past for other families.

“My dad is only 76 and he’s had it since he was 70, although was only diagnosed with Alzheimer’s two years ago. It feels a bit too young. I’ve described it before as a long loss and it’s like a silhouette of the person gradually walking away from you.

“Unfortunately, he’s just disappearing over that horizon. Tragically, the condition is ‘a living bereavement’.”

The pair used to do a lot of running together at Bingham Running Club, taking part in half and full marathons, and it’s Paul’s passion for exercise and his love of the ‘Great Outdoors’ which has inspired him to get his walking boots on for the cause.

He said: “We were no longer able to do the running together, so we got out and started to do a lot of walking.

“I’ve just sort of continued and was out on my own doing a long walk and just thought ‘this is it; this is what I want to do’.

“I saw (former cricketer) Ian Botham, now Lord Ian Botham, on the telly when I was eight do his John O’Groats to Land’s End walk and it planted a seed with me.

“I thought one day I’m going to do this. There’s no better time than now to do this.”

Paul, who has worked for the county council for 26 years, will set out from Britain’s most south-westerly point on 21 April and will be walking 20 miles a day for 60 days until he reaches John O’Groats.

Screenshot 2023 08 08 at 09.32.04
Paul Lindsay was a regular runner with his father Richard when they were younger.

He is no stranger to charity walks, having completed the Three Yorkshire Peaks and the Three Peaks’ challenges in the past – while he is familiar with the terrain in Cornwall having enjoyed many holidays in the area.

The married dad-of-three, who attends Nottingham Forest matches with his dad, will be taking unpaid leave for two months for the charity challenge and has paid tribute to his managers Kirstie Guthrie and Darren Hayward for supporting him.

Paul said: “Dementia has touched so many people’s lives. For me, knowing that my managers know that as well feels like I’m doing it for us all and the team. I realise they’re going to be supporting me by covering my work when I’m off.

“The fundraising is one thing, but to be given the opportunity to achieve this is a big life goal for me. So, I’m really grateful and really proud of them.”

Kirstie describes Paul’s fundraising drive as ‘fantastic’, saying: “It’s a very noble thing and sacrifice to do. To sacrifice your work for two months and the pay – because he’s doing it on unpaid leave – and at his own expense for such a good cause is an incredible thing to do.

“Everyone in the team is right behind Paul and wishes him all the success with his fundraising.”

He has already raised more than £2,600, a figure which has been boosted after featuring in the national and local media last month following the announcement that a new drug called donanemab could help spell the ‘beginning of the end’ for the disease.

Now as he steps up his training, Paul and his colleagues will be also holding fundraising events at council offices across the county in the coming weeks and months.

You can make a donation via Paul’s JustGiving page, while anyone who can supply or donate equipment can do so by contacting him at pnlindsay@btinternet.com.

Paul will also be broadcasting live from his walk on his YouTube channel.

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