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Friday, 28 November 2014

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Triumphant Rob’s final 1,000-mile charity trek

A GOSFORTH man has achieved his swan song – a gruelling charity trek of nearly 1,000 miles.

By Sarah Robinson

Rob Steele is “relieved” to finish the major challenge which started from his home on March 29 and ended in Santiago, in Spain, on June 4.

The 58-year-old battled with a painful knee injury on the milestone walk which marks 20 years of fundraising.

The walk was 1,550km which is equivalent to 970 miles.

He said: “I knew the 1,000 mile walk was going to be a challenge. When I got my knee injury my choice was try my best to keep going or cry off. I will never try to do something as big as this again.

“If I had cried off, after 20 years of doing it these walks, then I would have felt down mentally. Or I could carry on, finish it and come back mentally up but physically down.”

Over the years Rob has raised thousands of pounds in aid of the Royal Marsden Hospital, a specialist cancer centre, where he was treated for non Hodgkin lymphoma in 1975. The money goes towards cancer research and drug development.

He expects to raise around £3,500 between himself and his friend Stevie Hufton who joined him for part of the trek.

Rob said he wanted to complete the walk to raise money and inspire others, who are diagnosed with cancer, that the disease can be beaten.

He added: “I’m relieved I’ve done it. My mates have stood by me and looked after me.”

Rob trekked from his home to Plymouth, before catching a ferry to Santander. From there he followed the Camino del Norte to Santiago de Compostela.

He said: “I’m absolutely delighted with the support I’ve got from rotary clubs around the UK – they have been brilliant. Bill Lee, of Egremont Rotary Club, deserves a special mention.

“There have been ups and downs: I’ve met lovely people, been looked after well, have eaten well and tried out local delicacies.”

Friend Stevie, formerly of Gosforth, joined Rob at Exmouth in the UK and they walked together to Santiago.

The pair unexpectedly met old friends, a Gosforth couple now living in Spain, who gave them a roof over their heads and pointed Rob in the right direction of medical treatment for his knee.

He received Cortisone to relive the pain and he later got help from a German man who taped up his knee so he could finish the walk.

Rob said people can still donate to the cause, via his JustGiving site and sponsorship forms available locally. Any money Stevie raises will be match-funded by his work.

People can donate at: www.justgiving.com/Rob-Steele1

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