Sixty-five-year-old Northamptonshire mains aims to complete 800km mountain walk in 30 days

Kemal Chetitah is flying to France to raise money for two charities close to his heart

Thursday, 19th August 2021, 10:49 am
Updated Thursday, 19th August 2021, 10:50 am
Kmal Chetitah during one of his practice walks in Snowdonia

A Northamptonshire is travelling to France later this month to complete an 800km walk to raise money for two charities.

Sixty-five-year-old Kemal Chetitah, from Naseby, is aiming to walk about 30km a day for 30 days from August 23 to September 23.

Kemal explained why he was taking on the challenge and the personal reasons why he was supporting the good causes.

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"I have chosen these two charities to support - Asthma UK and Parkinsons UK - firstly as I am asthmatic and secondly my long term friend has been diagnosed with Parkinson’s disease, and there is no real cure for either of these conditions," he said.

Kemal took up walking after he lost his job during the pandemic last year.

"In July 2020, I was made my redundant from my job in hospitality as were so many of my colleagues," he said.

"During this time I wanted to do something positive to help myself and I started to walk every afternoon to keep my mood positive. Being asthmatic, walking can sometimes be a challenge as I get short of breath and can struggle to get oxygen in to my lungs.

"At first, I just walked around my village built up my fitness and moved from walking on the flat to taking small hills. A friend mentioned the Camino de Santiago and I focused on this as the ultimate goal as this will be a true challenge of my fitness," he said.

"Doing this exercise over the last year, has made me realise that my fitness is down to me, that what I do, how I eat and how I exercise, has enormous influence over my well being and now that I can literally climb mountains I want to test myself and do this ultimate walk.

"If I am successful, and if by doing this I can give hope to others, raising both awareness of asthma and Parkinson’s and money for further research then I feel I have achieved something good," he said.

He will start his adventure on August 23 and is flying to France on Saturday.

"I will be walking circa 30 km a day for 30 days from August 23 to September 23, from Saint Jean Pied de Port in the French Basque Country, crossing the Pyrenees and across Northern Spain to reach the Cathedral of Santiago de Compostela in to Spain.

"Because I am a glutton for punishment I am actually adding an additional 29 km to walk to the village of Muxia just north of Finistèrre to reach the coast, the western most point of Europe on the Atlantic Coast. The name Finistère literally translates to “ end of the world” so I can say I am walking border to border," he said.

To support Kemal's fundraising, visit his Justgiving page at https://www.justgiving.com/crowdfunding/k-chetitah