OF the 500,000 people who walk Fife Coastal Path every year, few can have a more compelling or moving reason than Bob Grant.
The highly respected GP from Markinch will cover some 108 miles on crutches, starting out from Maggie’s Edinburgh in the grounds of the Western General Hospital, and finishing at Maggie’s Dundee which overlooks the Tay in front of Ninewells Hospital - two places which are milestones on his own life path.
They are linked by some 108 miles of the coastal path which Bob and his team of core walkers will cover in nine days from August 3 to 11 to raise thousands of £s for Maggie’s Fife.
The Markinch doctor knows the route well - this is is the fourth Bob’s Walk, and it comes ten years after his first fundraiser.
That was done to raise money for cancer charity group, Macmillan.
This time round the funds will go to Maggie’s Fife where Bob chairs the associate fundraising board.
The start and finish points were chosen for good reason.
‘‘I had my radiotherapy in Edinburgh in 1961, and the amputation of my leg was carried out at Ninewells in 2002, so the route was the medical journey of my life,’’ he said.
‘‘At the first walk we arrived at Ninewells to be met by the press and a reception team and it was very emotional. Ten years on it is more of a physical achievement for me.’’
Bob Grant has lived with cancer since his childhood - he was 14 when he first underwent treatment - and is a leading supporter, and champion, of Maggie’s Fife.
He is also a lifelong walking enthusiast which he can trace back to his school days.
‘‘At Aberdeen Grammar School they had a keen hillwalking club - they took us up all the Cairngorms even in the most terrible weather! Even after my radio therapy in ‘61 the guys were brave enough to take me out on these walks which was fantastic.
‘‘I’ve always enjoyed walking, and having done the coastal path before my operation I thought I’d like to try do it on crutches - that was a real challenge. It took a lot of planning, and back then I was walking on basic NHS crutches which were rubbish! No-one should walk on them.’’
The memories from that walk are preserved on film thanks to another connection which links directly to the work done by Maggie’s Fife.
Bob met a fellow churchgoer after a service who had been diagnosed with terminal pancreatic cancer and they got talking.
’’I had lots of film I’d taken during the walk, and he was a film editor. He told me he had two months to live and would give me 48 hours of his time to make it into a film. What he turned out was an absolute gem.
‘‘Life is full of amazing events and connections ...’’
Since then Bob has walked many hundreds of miles for Maggie’s - and raised thousands of £s.
He walked from Dundee to Edinburgh in 2007, so, this time round, the starting point has been reversed with the team heading from the Western General across to North Queensferry and on to the coastal path for almost 108 miles.
The route takes in Aberdour, Burntisland, and Kirkcaldy where they will visit Maggie’s Fife before continuing on to Wemyss, Elie, Crail, Kingsbarns, Guardbridge, Tayport before arriving at Ninewells on August 11.
The walkers will also arrive in Pittenweem to co-incide with the burgh’s annual arts festival.
En route they will be joined by two ultra runners aiming to complete the path in 24 hours, BMX bikers, and there is support from Dunedin Harley Davidson bikers.
Tu Edwards, community fundraiser for Maggie’s, said: ‘‘We are really excited about Bob’s Walk.
‘‘He is a great chairman of our associate board, and this is going to be a fantastic event. I hope people across Fife give it their full support and raise as much money as possible for Maggie’s.
‘‘Last year we had over 7500 visits to the centre which was a 20 per cent increase from 2011. The funds raised will help make a big difference to supporting people with cancer across Fife.’’
DO you want to join Bob’s Walk?
The walk around Fife Coastal Path takes place from August 3-11 - and the organisers are looking for more volunteers to sign up and take part.
There are only 15 places among the core team - led by Bob Grant - which will do the full walk from Maggie’s Edinburgh to Maggie’s Dundee.
But you can also join the walk and do any distance to suit your own timescales and fitness levels.
Tu Edwards, from Maggie’s Fife, explained: ‘‘You can come along and walk for a day or morning as the team passes your area - and help raise more money for Maggie’s.
’’It’s very flexible and and we would be delighted to welcome individuals or groups.’’
>> Bob is also doing training sessions for the walk at The Mercat Shopping Centre, Kirkcaldy on June 29 from 11.00 a.m. to 2:30 p.m; Kingdom Shopping Centre on July 5, from 11.00 a.m. to 2.30 p.m. and the Kingsate in Dunfermline on July 25 from 11.00 a.m. to 2:30.p.m.
How to donate:
Simply visit fundraise.maggiescentres.org/bobswalk - and pledge your support online.
Sponsor sheets are also available at the Fife Free Press office at 23 Kirk Wynd, Kirkcaldy and at our Maggie’s Centre.
>> Follow us on Twitter by using the hashtag #bobswalk