Kelpies launch for Bob’s Walk 2015

Bob Grant at the Kelpies to launch Bob's Walk 2015

Bob Grant at the Kelpies to launch Bob's Walk 2015

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Okay, raise your hands in the air, came the command from the photographers.

‘Easier said than done’ joked Bob Grant, but he did - his crutches held high above his head, flanked by Harley Davidson bikes and watched over by the giant Kelpies.

And the picture marked the official launch of Bob’s Walk 2015.

The roar of the bikes on a beautiful Thursday morning drew the attention of everyone visiting the amazing equine structures.

It’s where his 2015 walk will start on Sunday, June 13 - his fourth for Maggie’s Fife, and his most challenging yet.

In just nine days he will lead a team of core walkers on a 117-mile journey along the canal paths to the Forth Bridge, round the coastline of the Kingdom up to Maggie’s Dundee in Ninewells Hospital.

It’s a distance and timescale that would challenge any experienced walker. To do it on crutches takes remarkable fortitude.

Along narrow paths and wide open beaches, up hills, through fields, across golf courses, and safely over the many obstacles nature throws up on the coastal path, he will be at the very heart of the waking team - raising funds for, but also taking the opportunity to speak about the work done by Maggie’s Fife.

The walk, and Maggie’s, are both very close to his heart.

Bob has lived with cancer for most of his life.

He was first diagnosed with the disease as a schoolboy, and lived with the lasting effects of radiotherapy for many, many years before finally having his leg amputated in 2002.

Life on crutches didn’t hinder his love of the outdoors or indeed his work as a GP.

He was a familiar and highly respected doctor to many, many patients who remain deeply grateful for his commitment to improving their care.

He also has a national voice in shaping Scotland’s cancer care programmes - his own experiences underpinning his determination to make sure the patient comes first and is given the best possible help and support at every stage of their diagnosis.

His four walks have raised over £40,000 for Maggie’s Fife where he chairs the centre’s fundraising board - and that total will be boosted this summer as he leads his walking team on their journey.

The fundraising is already underway.

At the launch there was a £20 donation from the coffee stall at the Kelpies, while a mum and her toddler came across to allow the youngsgter to hand over a £2 coin.

Such scenes will be repeated throughout the walk as folk join in for a day, and others make a point of meeting the team en route to hand over their personal donations.

And as well as accepting the money with thanks, it gives Bob an opportunity to explain about Maggie’s, and the work it does.

He is happy to do so, often breaking off from the walk and then having to catch up half an hour or so later.

It all adds up to a tremendous challenge, but it is one he is looking forward to.

Dr Bob said: “My enthusiasm for Maggie’s continues to grow. It is vital that funds are raised to ensure that the essential support that Maggie’s gives to people affected by cancer, and their family and friends, can

continue.

“This is my fourth walk for Maggie’s and I know it will be exhausting because it’s day after day.

‘‘It will be tiring but I know the endorphins will be flowing and any fatigue will be overwhelmed by the buzz!’’

His own preparations are well underway.

He explained: “Because of the crutches, I get sore shoulders and my hands are always very painful by the last day. This year, I hope to have a choice of two pairs of crutches which will allow me to alter the strain on my skeleton.

“And, I always carry several pairs of gloves to choose from to subtly alter the pressure points on my hands.”

Bob’s walk starts at the Kelpies on Sunday, June 13 just a few miles from the site of Maggie’s Forth Valley being built at Forth Valley Royal Hospital in Larbert.

They will head via the Falkirk Wheel along the tow-path of the Union Canal to Winchburgh, on to Kirkliston, South Queensferry, and over the Forth Road Bridge on to the Fife Coastal Path.

Over nine continuous days, the group will be joined by groups of friends and supporters along the way before arriving at Maggie’s Dundee on Sunday, June 21 where they will be joined by up to 100 riders from Harley Davidson Dunedin Chapters throughout Scotland.

And in between, the walkers can enjoy the stunning beauty of the Fife coastline.

“There are so many things to enjoy!’’ said Bob. ‘‘In previous years, I have been joined en route by so many generous and interesting people and I look forward to meeting more in June.

‘‘The route of the walk will take me through so many interesting and beautiful places. I can never get enough of the Fife Coastal Path and I’m looking forward to the ever-changing scenery, the wildlife, the East Neuk villages and of course the finale

in Dundee.

“The last day is always amazing and always surprisingly emotional.”

>> To donate text DOCB99 £5 to 70070 or visit https://www.justgiving.com/BobsWalk2015/

To find out more visit www.bobswalk.co.uk/ or www.facebook.com/BobsWalk