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John Rayment of Hornchurch plans 6,000-mile coastal walk for Parkinson’s UK and Parkinson’s Improvement Mix

PUBLISHED: 10:32 20 June 2012

John Rayment is booting up to walk the coast of Britain for Parkinson's UK and Parkinson's Improvement Programme

John Rayment is booting up to walk the coast of Britain for Parkinson's UK and Parkinson's Improvement Programme

Archant

Life’s a beach for the Hornchurch lecturer realising his dream of walking the 6,000-mile British coast for charity.

John Rayment, of Platford Green, decided to go the distance to support research into Parkinson’s disease after Anglia Ruskin University offered him voluntary redundancy.

“My father suffered from Parkinson’s,” said John, 58. “It is extremely debilitating but great strides are being made towards improved treatment.”

John – whose nephew is Ricky Rayment in The Only Way Is Essex – is hoping to split his target of £20,000 sponsorship between Parkinson’s UK and the lesser-known Parkinson’s Improvement Programme (PIP), which has researched and produced a mix of supplements and additives to help alleviate some of the effects of the disease.

This isn’t John’s first walking challenge – he braved altitude sickness to climb Mount Kilimanjaro with friends in the 1990s.

But despite his experience of tougher terrain, John won’t be coasting – indeed, he is finding ways to make the journey more challenging.

“In South Woodham Ferrers there’s a crossing that’s about three feet deep and I’ll probably wade across that,” he said. “My family’s a bit worried I’ll try and swim across a river or something.”

As well as wet feet, John is worried about his 400 days of self-imposed solitude.

“I’m a bit nervous about being lonely,” he confessed. “I spent a day last week with a guy who walked around England, and he had a dog he was walking with.

“He said when he had the dog everyone was friendly, but he spent two weeks without it and he said people treated him a bit strangely.

“I was wondering about a dog on wheels – or I could get a ‘Parky Puppy’ to stick out of my rucksack.”

John hopes to start his journey on August 1st at the Tilbury Ferry on the River Thames and finish at the same spot on October 31st next year – with a couple of months off for Christmas.

The business lecturer, who published a book called MisLeadership last year, said he was looking forward to seeing more of Britain. “You hear about all these places and you wonder what they’re like,” he said. “I kind of thought lots of it would be awful or boring but the more you look into it, the more you realise it’s really interesting.

“The Welsh coast path that’s just opened is meant to be one of the best in the whole world. It’s got fantastic historical scenery with castles and all those kinds of things.

“After that, you get up to the lakes and Scotland, and that’s going to be completely different – much more remote.”

To support John’s fundraising journey, go to http://www.charitygiving.co.uk/johnrayment.

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