A GUISELEY woman whose dad sadly died from bowel cancer has completed the 87-mile Dales Way walk and the Windermere Marathon to raise money for the hospice nurses who cared for him.

Charlotte Kelly, 38, said: “My dad, Charles Kelly, sadly died from bowel cancer in September 2022, after being diagnosed just 10 months earlier.

“In the last few months of his life, nurses from Sue Ryder Manorlands Hospice visited him at his home in Ilkley every week to provide specialist care and invaluable emotional support to him and his wife, Kim. They also offered Kim bereavement counselling after he died.”

After her dad died, Charlotte decided that she wanted to take on a challenge to raise funds in his memory.

“I asked Kim which charity she would like me to support, and she said Sue Ryder without hesitation,” said Charlotte.

“My dad was a keen rock climber, runner, swimmer, and hiker. We loved hiking together so I thought a fitting tribute would be to walk the Dales Way, which starts in Ilkley where he lived and ends in the Lake District where we spent a lot of time as a family when I was growing up.

“I discovered that the Windermere Marathon took place around the same time I was planning to do the walk, so I decided to make it a bit more challenging and signed up to do that too.”

Charlotte set off on Monday, May 15 and walked the 87-mile distance over five days with her two Bedlington Terriers Bessie and Dotty, joined on each day by a different person who knew her dad.

“I was really close to my dad, and I miss him every day, but I know that the last thing he would want is for me to be sad, so I made sure to really enjoy the experience," said Charlotte.

“My dad loved walking and every time I saw something beautiful like a really nice sunrise or sunset, I thought of him. He would have loved to have been there walking with me.”

Ilkley Gazette: Charlotte loved hiking with her dad CharlesCharlotte loved hiking with her dad Charles (Image: submitted)

After arriving at Bowness-on-Windermere on Friday evening, Charlotte was able to rest on Saturday and have some physiotherapy to soothe her tired feet and legs. She then completed the 26.2-mile Windermere Marathon on Sunday, May 21.

“The marathon is beautiful but it’s very high – apparently it’s got the same gradient as walking up Ben Nevis!” she said.

“I was expecting it would take me about six hours, but it took me 4hrs 45mins. I’m quite spiritual and there was something about that day which meant that I just felt absolutely fine. I felt like my dad was with me.”

By taking on the Dales Way and Windermere Marathon, Charlotte has raised over £3,000 for Sue Ryder’s expert palliative care and bereavement support.

“Sue Ryder provided a really positive support network for my dad and Kim in those last few months before he died and I’m thrilled to have raised this amount of money for the charity,” she said.

“I’d like to thank everyone who has kindly donated, and to my employer – Barnett Waddingham LLP – who have match funded my fundraising up to £250 and donated an additional £500 from their annual charity fund. I am so grateful.”

Adam Brunskill, Community Fundraiser at Sue Ryder Manorlands Hospice, said: “Walking the Dales Way in five days is an incredible feat by itself, but following that with a marathon is an amazing achievement. We’re so grateful to Charlotte for taking on this fantastic challenge to raise vital funds for Sue Ryder. It is thanks to supporters like her that we can continue to be there when it matters for families going through the most difficult times of their lives.”

There is still time to donate to Charlotte’s fundraising page. Visit: justgiving.com/fundraising/inmemoryofcharleskelly.

For more information about Sue Ryder Manorlands Hospice, and the services it provides, visit: sueryder.org/manorlands