Petersfield man takes dog for 100-mile walk to raise money for “Hospice at Home” charity

[Charity Release, Petersfield] One man and his dog will be going more than the extra mile to raise money for a Petersfield charity in a two-day endurance test along the South Downs Way.

Mike Cantan, 29, who runs Animal Crackers pet food store in Petersfield will take part in the 100-mile “Since 1664 Yomp” charity walk, raising money for The Rosemary Foundation.

The Yomp is an epic endurance challenge covering the length of the South Downs Way, non-stop, over the weekend of 26-27 May, 2018.

Mike said: “This is a biggy for me. We’ll be training every week and we’ll make sure we get some early nights and load up on carbohydrates beforehand.”

The public can also follow Mike’s training walks with Biggles, his Labrador, on Instagram at mikeyboy021988. Biggles, who will be walking for Canine Partners, will become the first canine to complete the Yomp.

Mike was inspired to take on the challenge for very personal reasons. His father Charles, a decorated fighter pilot and Falklands War veteran with the Royal Navy Fleet Air Arm who later became a senior Captain with Virgin Atlantic, died in 2016 after a brief illness. He was cared for by nurses from The Rosemary Foundation.

Mike explained: “The Rosemary Foundation really stepped in, allowing my Dad to finish his life with all of his dignity intact. It’s a hard job and they’re amazing people.”

The Rosemary Foundation provides its 24/7 “Hospice at Home” service in Petersfield and surrounding communities for patients in the latter stage of life-limiting conditions. Support is also provided for patients’ families through a Volunteer Visitor service and ongoing Bereavement Support and Counselling for as long as is required.

Operating Manager Jeremy Mitchell said: “It costs around £1,600 a month to keep just one of our nurses on the road and we don’t receive any statutory funding. Instead, we rely on donations from the general public to continue providing our service at no cost to the patient or their family.

“That’s why we’re so grateful when people like Mike and his team mates give us such fantastic support. We’ll be ready with the plasters at the finishing line.”

The Royal Marines are close to Mike’s heart and the word “yomp” is their slang for a fast march carrying a load. Mike went through Royal Marines basic training in 2008 but had to withdraw after completing the first phase due to health issues within his family. However, he still has many friends in and out of the Corps and will be training and completing the walk with five of them.

One team mate, Sam Wilks was shot twice in Afghanistan but has made a full recovery and is now a serving police officer.

Mike also used to know Royal Marine Richard Hollington who was killed in Afghanistan. A team takes part in the walk each year to raise money in Richard’s memory. Richard’s father, Robin, founded the Yomp.

Mike has already raised £1300 in sponsorship and aims to raise much more. Anyone can donate online by searching for Cantan 1664 on the Just Giving website, Mike added: “Naturally there will be some competition amongst us but the important thing is we’re all doing it for the right reason. And if you’ve got enough reason to do it, you will do it.”


Notes to editor:
1. Photograph (Mike Cantan and his dog Biggles).

2. People can also donate cash or cheques at the offices on 35 Lavant Street, Petersfield.

3. For more information about The Rosemary Foundation, contact Jeremy Mitchell.
Tel: 01730 266329
Mob: 07917 506918

Posted in: Our Blog

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