Former Merseyside policeman and dog handler who's virtually blind walks 300,000 steps in a month for Maggie's - The Guide Liverpool

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Former Merseyside policeman and dog handler who’s virtually blind walks 300,000 steps in a month for Maggie’s

20/04/2021

A former Merseyside policeman and dog handler who’s virtually blind has walked 300,000 steps for Maggie’s Merseyside – and raised more than £1,000 for the cancer charity.

Bob Coote, 73, from Little Neston, took on the incredible challenge in March as a thank you for the support he’d had following the death of his much-loved wife, Doreen.

Doreen, who was diagnosed with kidney cancer, passed away 18 months ago and Bob wanted to complete the mammoth challenge in her memory and collect an astonishing £1,138 for the centre which helped her.

Father-of three Bob, who trekked around 150 miles in 31 days, says: “Sadly, Doreen my wife of 50 years, died on Boxing day in 2019 but Maggie’s were excellent, so I decided to enter the challenge in memory of her.

“I lost my sight about five years ago as a result of advanced glaucoma and I am registered severely sight-impaired/blind but my fitness is good. I walked the same route of 10 miles along the Wirral Way three times a week throughout the month and, because I have long vision in one eye, I focused on a point in front of me about 30-40 yards ahead and stayed close to the wall.  I knew when I’d completed the distance and then focused ahead again. 

“Sometimes I had company. I had a long high-profile police career with Merseyside Police and so I was even joined by Swassie Turner, MBE, an established cancer fundraiser and also a retired police officer who lost his wife to cancer.

“And, as I used to be the head of the Merseyside Police dog section, we were seen off on one of our walks by a police dog handler and a police dog from Merseyside police.”

Bob says Doreen enjoyed visiting Maggie’s because it was a place where she could unwind and relax while receiving support from the cancer support specialists. Seeing first-hand the support Maggie’s had provided to Doreen, and so many others, Bob was eager to sign up for the challenge in spite of his difficulties.

Bob shaking hands with Princess Diana while serving with Merseyside Police

He says: “I felt like Doreen was with me every step of the way. And I felt it was a real achievement for me, and for Doreen because it means her legacy lived on.”

As well as being determined to keep up his fitness – Bob’s next challenge is climbing Moel Famau in Wales with one of his daughter’s – he is now encouraging others to sign up for more local challenges to help people dealing with the effects of cancer, whether it be them directly or their friends and family.

Maggie’s has stressed that it’s ‘here’ for people living with cancer and, with the current pandemic, it says its professional practical, emotional and social support is more important than ever before. The centre, in the grounds of Clatterbridge Cancer Centre, continues to welcome anyone with a cancer diagnosis, or their family and friends, while still adhering to all local and Government guidelines.

Support by professional staff is available face-to-face in the centre, by phone, email or online to help people deal with stress, fear and anxiety, as well as money worries and questions about cancer treatment.

Maggie’s Merseyside Centre Head Kathy Wright says: “We know people with cancer need Maggie’s now more than ever. Cancer is possibly the hardest experience of a person’s life, yet coronavirus and restrictions have made living with cancer even more difficult.

“We’re extremely grateful to people like Bob. It’s because of our supporters that we’re able to continue offering our support. We’d love others to join Bob and sign up to take on their own personal challenges.”

Maggie’s has been supporting people with cancer throughout the coronavirus crisis and, indeed, helped people 60,000 times during the first full lockdown alone. Since Maggie’s opened its first centre in 1996, the charity has developed a programme of support that is proven to help people with cancer and their loved ones take back control.

Maggie’s Merseyside relies almost entirely on voluntary donations. To sign up for a fundraising pack visit the website here.

For more information visit the website here.

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