Rugby resident Andy Martin has met with local MP Mark Pawsey to get his support ahead of his walk from John o’Groats to Lands’ End in support of Parkinson’s UK.
Andy, who was diagnosed with Parkinson’s 5 years ago, has set himself the challenge of walking the 900 mile route that stretches the length of Britain to raise funds and awareness for the disease in just one month.
A Rugby player, Andy played for Newbold RFC and continues to play most weekends for either AEI (rugby) or Coventry Welsh. During the 2015 Rugby World Cup, he spoke passionately at the Rugby Fanzone in the town centre about the challenges that come from living with Parkinson’s.
Andy’s walk will begin on September 1st 2017 and he plans to walk into Rugby on September 19th, travelling from Tesco to Kilsby the next day. As he walks through Rugby he will be joined by his son, Liam (7), along with other residents and rugby teammates who will be supporting him.
After meeting with Andy, Mark has contacted his colleagues in Parliament who represent the towns and cities Andy will be walking through to ask them to support his trip. Mark has also drawn Andy’s journey to the attention of Gavin Hastings, the former Scotland Rugby Union Captain who has campaigned on Parkinson’s for over a decade, following his wife’s diagnosis in 2003.
After meeting Andy, Mark commented: “I think we will all be amazed by the challenge Andy has set himself. To walk the length of the UK for anyone would be tough work for anyone and for Andy to complete it would be incredibly inspirational.”
“As President of the Rugby branch of Parkinson’s UK, I am always very keen to support the fight against Parkinson’s. I know there is a lot of support both in Rugby and in Parliament for supporting Parkinson’s UK and I hope that people across the country will support Andy’s heroic journey.”
Andy said: “I'd like as many people as possible to join me on my walk, whether that be to just ‘say hello’ and offer encouragement or to perhaps walk a mile, or more, with me. For those that are not able to join me, you can still help create awareness, by following my walk on social media and sharing with your family and friends.”