Daventry dad takes on walking challenge in memory of friend who died from brain tumour

Mark O'Donnell
Mark O'Donnell

A Daventry dad took on a 100km challenge in memory of a close friend who died from a brain tumour.

Mark O’Donnell, 37, walked the Thames Path Challenge at the weekend to raise money for the Brain Tumour Research charity.

His friend, Charlotte Hayes, from Hackney, lost her fight in March 2013, aged just 32.

Mark, a project manager at Barclaycard, studied with Charlotte for four years at the University of Bournemouth and was inspired to fundraise in her memory.

Before the event he said: “I’ve been so busy with work and family life that the challenge has soon crept up on me.

“I’m somewhat nervous about tackling the 100km route but, as I’m a keen gym goer and exercise regularly, I think I’m fit enough to finish in good time.”

Mark, who has two young children Evie, seven, and Ethan, three, added: “Though I’ll be knackered at the end, I want to pay tribute to Charlotte and to inspire others to fundraise for this vital cause.”

Mark was among 3,000 challengers taking part in the Thames Path Challenge, which follows one of the UK’s longest rivers.

The event started at Putney Bridge, before heading upstream along the river Thames to Henley, passing spectacular scenery such as Hampton Court along the route.

Michael Thelwall, head of community fundraising for Brain Tumour Research, said: “We are extremely grateful for Mark’s support.

“Charlotte’s story reminds us that brain tumours are indiscriminate and we hope she inspires others to fundraise for this woefully underfunded cancer.”

There’s still time to sponsor Mark. If you would like to help, visit https://www.justgiving.com/fundraising/mark-o-donnell5