'I took on huge challenge in honour of my dad. I know he would be proud of me'

Paul Lindsay walked over 1,000 miles to raise money and awareness
-Credit: (Image: Paul Lindsay)

A social worker has completed a challenge in honour of his dad and to raise money for the Alzheimer's Society. After 18 months of planning Richard Lindsay, of Radcliffe on Trent, walked from Land's End to John O Groats to raise money for the charity.

Paul's dad, Richard Lindsay, 78, has been battling Alzheimer's for the past eight years. The family say they are grateful to the charity for all their support since his diagnosis and the support they have offered the whole family. Paul said: "As soon as we got in touch with the Alzheimer Society they were able to send someone to come and speak to my mum and to my dad and offer services.

"It's not just the day-to-day stuff they do, which is obviously very valuable like the memory cafes they have in local communities, but it is also the research they are doing to develop a blood test and develop medications so people can take these things and flog it down."

He explained that if medication like this had been created earlier, his dad may have reached 85 years old before his symptoms got to the point where they are now. Paul completed the challenge on Thursday, June 13, after weeks of walking and has so far raised more than £19,000. He said: "I'm just absolutely elated.

Paul Lindsay reaching John O Groats in Scotland
Paul Lindsay reaching John O Groats in Scotland -Credit:Paul Lindsay

"The trip just went really well, I did it in 52 days so 8 days quicker than I anticipated. I was doing 20 - 25 miles a day and I camped half the nights and the other half I had B&Bs and bunkhouses and different types of accommodation."

The 50-year-old added that "the weather wasn't kind" but he got on with it and focused on each day as it came. Thinking about when he reached John o'Groats, the dad-of-three shared: "I got to the finish line last Thursday after mid-day and it was quite a weird one when you've done 1053 miles

"My wife is chuffed to bits, and she has had it hard whilst I have been away as we have three kids. It's been a real team effort, it's not just been me, there's been people helping me with the mapping and planning and booking accommodation, and my cousin has been helping me with YouTube."

As well as walking more than 1,000 miles, Paul has also been making daily videos about his journey as well as Alzheimer's and mental health. He explained that although his dad "unfortunately" isn't sure what Paul has been doing, he has been watching the videos and knows it's "something good."

Paul said: "He flashes up the daily video each night and he talks to me as if I was there, my mum said. He's watching my video on her phone or the iPad and saying things like you're doing great you're doing well.

"I don't think he fully knows what I've done, but when I walked back into their house he walked towards me and then kind of staggered back two paces as I think he was so shocked to see me after the two months."

Paul continued: "He's always been with me anyway as we were runners together and we used to run together so I could feel him with me along the way. It was special to hear that he had been enjoying the videos and taken something from that, and I know he would be proud of me as I'm proud of him, so that's enough for us."

The social worker added that even though he is home he has not stopped fundraising and is keen to hit the £20,000 mark. When asked about his journey, he shared: "I've seen some amazing views and of course, I have seen some amazing things, but I think the biggest thing I will take away from it is the generosity of people."

He explained that he had people offer him cups of tea, buy him a pint in a pub, and one "lady on a narrow boat even offered me an Eccles cake." He described the whole experience as "really special" and "heartwarming."

Paul Lindsay at Land's End in England
Paul Lindsay at Land's End in England -Credit:Paul Lindsay

For the final three days, he had a friend drive up to Scotland to support him and then drove him the 702 miles back to Nottingham after he reached the end. Paul joked: "I'm like a little old man since I've been home, I keep telling my wife I have to go to bed at lunchtime."

He had been walking around 25 miles each day and had been walking for miles in Nottinghamshire and Derbyshire before starting his adventure, but explained it's not really something you can train for.

Stating: "You don't know if your body is going to stand up to it but luckily mine did. I think I was just that determined all the way through and to make a success of it so I just took it one day at a time.

"When I got to Scotland I really knew I got it as I had done so much to get up there." Danielle Cooper, Alzheimer’s Society East Midlands head of services, said: "We cannot thank Paul Lindsay enough for his incredible fundraising efforts for Alzheimer’s Society. Not only has he raised nearly £20,000 by walking from Land's End to John o’Groats,

"Paul has also gone that extra mile to raise awareness of the impact of dementia on families like his own by sharing his story with the wider world." Dementia is the UK's biggest killer and one in three people born today will develop the condition and currently nearly one million people in the UK live with it.

Ms Cooper described Paul as "phenomenal", adding: "Paul’s support for Alzheimer’s Society is making a huge difference to our vital work supporting people through some of the hardest times of their lives and funding research. Additionally, Paul has achieved all this at a time when his dad Richard is living with dementia.

"We are incredibly grateful to Paul and his family for everything they have done to support us.”