Rotarian quadruples sponsorship target for Airedale Hospital


L to R: Marten Koopmans (President of Ilkley Wharfedale Rotary Club), Rtn Peter Mate (IWRC). For Airedale General Hospital - Jodie Hearnshaw. (Fundraising Manager), Dr Alan Hart-Thomas (Deputy Medical Director), Angela McGarry (Matron for Flow). Last but not least Rtn Derek Richards (IWRC)

Derek Richards, a member of the Rotary Club of Ilkley Wharfedale, has completed his fifty mile sponsored walk in aid of the 50:50 Campaign of the Airedale Hospital and Community Charity and smashed his £500 target.


Following his serious brush with the Covid-19 virus as reported on Ilkley Chat last month, Derek started his challenge on Friday 26 June.......


The original weather forecast was for a sunny few days for walking principally along the Dalesway. In reality the first day when he walked with his youngest son, Sebastian, from Ilkley to Barden Bridge was walked in comparative comfort. However, the remaining days were walked in pouring rain or showers with sharp winds particularly in the part of the journey up to Grassington. When he got to the part between Ribblehead and Dent he was buffeted by the winds and a biblical downpour. He admits there were a few deviations where he had difficulty reading the map due to the lashing rain but he had vowed to walk 50 miles and was not going to be deterred and as the football phrase goes "we go again the next day". His faithful dog, Evie, kept his spirits up during some of the worst moments even though the dog was thinking he was crazy!

The walk took the form of 6 to 10 mile stages starting each day at the point he had previously reached. Because there were ‘deviations’ the 50 miles was completed before the final part of the last leg, the bit up to and around Dent being particularly bad due to flood waters.

Derek finished his walk on Saturday 4 July and 2 days later on July 6, he made the promised return to Airedale General Hospital to pass on the news that the walk had raised, not the £500 target, but close to £2,000. Monies will go to the Staff Rest and Recuperation Areas within the hospital.


Derek is well on the way to a full recovery from this dreadful virus and would like to thank to his new friends at Airedale.

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