A RETIRED geography teacher from Queen Elizabeth’s Grammar School is planning a 46-mile sponsored walk in memory of her late husband.
Jean Hudson chose to support Pancreatic Cancer UK, and raise awareness of the disease, after her husband Neil died from it in November 2012.
The route will take her along the Limestone Way from Castleton, in the Hope Valley, to the banks of the river Dove in Rocester, and will take four days to complete.
Jean said she was inspired to take the challenge on because the two of them spent many enjoyable hours walking in the countryside.
She said: “Neil was a geologist and walking was part of his work, and as a retired geography teacher myself I shared his love of the outdoors.”
The couple moved to Ashbourne in 1983, and Jean took up the teaching position at QEGS in 1990, where she remained until she retired nine years later. She explained that they both loved the area, and spent much of their free time exploring the Peak District, as well as travel abroad to walk.
She said: “Holidays and field trips took us further afield to Scotland, Ireland, Finland, Spain, Greece and Canada. In the summer of 2012, we hiked in the White Mountains of Crete and in the French Alps, so it seemed an obvious choice to complete a walking challenge in his memory.”
Jean has been preparing for the four-day adventure over the past few months. She said: “Together with friends we have completed sections of the walk to check the route. The wet winter and recent warm weather has meant the vegetation is so high it frequently obscures signs and makes passing through stiles a very prickly operation.”
So far Jean has raised more than £1,500 and hopes to increase this total once she completes the walk, in early September. She said her friends and family have given her unfailing support, not only in this venture but also since Neil died. She said: “I’ve been overwhelmed by the backing and generosity of friends and family, but also the many shops in town that have allowed me to put up posters.”
Pancreatic cancer has the lowest survival rate of any cancer. Jean said she hopes her walk will help fund further research into the disease. She said: “It would be wonderful if, one day, others will not have to suffer the same fate as Neil.”
Donations can be made online at www.justgiving.com/Jean-Hudson1. There are also collecting tins for donations in Natural Choice in St John Street, Best Wishes in Dig Street and Springfield Stores in Springfield Avenue.