Edinburgh retiree walks 70 miles ahead of his 70th birthday in honour of departed friend

Graham Grant hopes the fundraising challenge will inspire people his age to raise cash for charity

By Shona Elliott
Monday, 14th September 2020, 7:30 am
Updated Tuesday, 15th September 2020, 9:48 pm
Training hard, Mr Grant has clocked 300 miles in the last month.
Training hard, Mr Grant has clocked 300 miles in the last month.

After losing his best friend to cancer a retired man from Edinburgh will celebrate his 70th birthday by walking 70 miles in seven days to raise money for Macmilian Cancer Support.

Graham Grant from Blackhall started volunteering with the charity shortly before his good friend Donald Wright lost his battle with colon cancer in August, 2019.

The pair had shared a friendship spanning 35-years starting when Mr Grant worked in the wholesale fruit business and continuing into both men’s retirement.

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The 69-year-old said that while coping with death gets easier with age he still feels a “tremendous sense of loss” when he thinks of his friend.

He said: “When Donald passed I felt very sad but when you get to my age these things do happen and you learn to accept it as part of life’s rich tapestry. That said everyone who knew Donald still feels great sadness and a tremendous sense of loss.”

In honour of his friend’s memory, Mr Grant has decided to fundraise for Macmilan Cancer Support on top of his voluntary work with the charity’s bereavement service.

The retired businessman will take on the challenge of walking 70 miles finishing days before his 70th birthday on Monday, 21st September, 2020.

Determined, Mr Grant says he hopes to show other older people that “people my age can be useful to charities and fundraise too”.

He said: “I wanted to show that you didn’t have to be 20, exceptionally fit and planning to swim 100 miles to raise money for charity.

“Someone my age is just as helpful, I might not be able to run a marathon, but I can still contribute.”

Having started on Saturday, September 12, 2020 the Macmilian volunteer begins each of his seven walks at his home in the Capital.

Walking in rain or shine to; Musselburgh Racecourse, North Queensferry, The Shore, Leith, Rosslyn Chapel, Royal Yacht Britannia, a circular trip around his local area, Mr Grant will finish his challenge at Edinburgh Castle on Friday, September 18, 2020.

Delighted with the challenge in her late husband's name Mrs Wright’s has offered to pick Mr Grant up after he finishes his walks at noon each day.

Having trained hard for the challenge Mr Grant has clocked 300 miles in the last month.

Macmilian Cancer Information and Support Service’s Gaynor Stobie said the charity is thrilled with Mr Grant’s efforts.

She said: “We’re all totally behind him and can’t wait to cheer him on at various points along the route.”

Ms Stobie added that fundraising efforts like this are vital as a massive 98 per cent of their income is from donations and events like the Coffee Morning.

She has asked that anyone available signs up for the Macmilian Coffee Morning Challenge to do their part in helping raise funds for the charity.

She said: “While the Coffee Morning can’t take place in the same way as before this year, there are still lots of ways to get involved safely and help raise money for people affected by cancer at a time when they need it more than ever.”

For more information about the coffee morning click here. The link to Mr Grant’s fundraising page can be found here.

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