Morecambe man’s China trek for beloved parents

Gary Butler will be walking the Great Wall of China despite a recent hip replacement operation
Gary Butler will be walking the Great Wall of China despite a recent hip replacement operation

A hip replacement isn’t defeating Gary Butler who is taking part in a 10 day China trek for Lancaster St John’s Hospice.

Despite undergoing major hip surgery Gary Butler will walk along the Great Wall of China in memory of his beloved parents.

Margaret Butler, from Morecambe

Margaret Butler, from Morecambe

For twenty years Gary has made it his duty to fundraise for the hospice who looked after his parents in their final moments.

Since their passing the Butler family, with the help of friends and local businesses, has raised £80,000 for the charity.

This year Gary thought what better way to make the China trek his biggest fundraiser yet as the Slyne Road hospice celebrate their 30 year anniversary.

He said: “At the time I knew I needed my hip replacement so I thought about making it into a challenge, it all fell into place, 30 years for the hospice, 20 years since my dad passed away and 18 years since my mum passed away.”

Jack Butler, from Morecambe

Jack Butler, from Morecambe

Gary’s parents, Jack and Margaret Butler were well known in Morecambe and were rarely seen apart, spending their evenings at the Grosvenor Hotel and playing squash at the Concorde Squash Club.

Jack was a member of Heysham Golf Club, a self-employed builder, a third Morecambe cub leader.

Twenty years ago Jack thought he had pulled a muscle in his rib cage whilst pulling some guttering down at work.

After persevering with the pain the family made him get a biopsy which revealed he had secondary bowel cancer and two weeks later he died in the hospice.

Gary, who is chairman of the Trimpell Sports and Social Club and works at Heysham Power station, said: “He had gone from working on a house to dying in the hospice. It was a massive shock but the hospice were fantastic.”

After his death the family set up the Jack Butler Trophy at Heysham Golf Club, an annual tournament in aid of the hospice.

Margaret was left heartbroken without her husband and struggled with her health for some time.

“She was never one for letting her feelings show but she was suffering from depression,” said Gary.

“It’s horrendous looking back now, she used to go to Moor Hospital in Lancaster and get shock treatment for her depression. She later had tests and we found out she had lung cancer.”

Margaret passed away in the hospice just two years later. Gary has been keeping their memory alive ever since.

He has organised sportsman dinners, with prestigious guest speakers and Northern soul nights, all in aid of the hospice.

Some of his proceeds have helped refurbish the centre.

He said: “The care they received was second to none. There are still quite a lot of people in the town who don’t realise the work the hospice do.

“Everytime I go it brings back memories and brings a lump to my throat.”

Nearly 30 people will take part in the 10 day trek, walking 6-8 hours per day.

To help Gary visit Gary is also holding a Northern Soul and Motown Night at the Trimpell on June 3, tickets on the door, as well as the Sportsman’s Evening, with Norman Hunter on May 6 to fundraise for the hospice’s trek.

To donate and for tickets call Gary on 07814 107525.