Farmer’s walk of ages to celebrate half century

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WHILE some people might hit a mid-life crisis as their 50th birthday approaches, a Winmarleigh farmer decided to use his milestone to help others.

Dairy farmer Tom Whitaker aimed to leave a lasting legacy by drawing up a 50-mile walk around the Lancaster district – raising money for two worthwhile charities at the same time.

The walk will take place over a 24-hour period this weekend, starting from Tom’s home, Park Lane Farm.

Labelling the trip The Walk of My Life, Tom will be completing a route which takes in landmarks close to his heart.

“I will visit farms previously occupied by my ancestors in Ellel, Bailrigg, Hest Bank, Marsh Point, Quernmore and Abbeystead, as well as many places that are important to me – including Heysham Church (wedding), Lancaster Royal Grammar School and Nicky Nook (first fell walk) – before returning to Park Lane,” he said.

“It’s an interesting route for me because these are places that have been significant to me through my life; different places that have made me who I am.

“It’s a challenge for me, but I am optimistic I will finish.

“I have been a bit self-indulgent up until now but I also want to put something back.”

Tom will be accompanied at different points along the way by various friends, and his 17-year-old son James will also walk the first 25 miles with him.

Since his 50th birthday last October, Tom has undertaken a different challenge every month, such as climbing Snowdon, completing the Yorkshire Three Peaks walk and donating his 50th pint of blood,

“This is the last piece of the jigsaw, and I wanted to do something that would benefit other people,” he said.

Any money raised will be split between Send a Cow – founded by UK dairy farmers to provide farm animals and training for some of the poorest families in Africa – and Macmillan Cancer Relief.

Anyone wishing to sponsor Tom can send a cheque payable to either Macmillan or Send a Cow to Park Lane Farm, Winmarleigh, Preston, PR3 0JU.