Long-distance charity walker Karen Penny ends 11,000 mile coastal challenge in Scotland

Karen Penny left Oban for Mull as she continues her 20,000 mile quest to walk the coast of Britain and Ireland fundraising for Alzheimer's Research UK.

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Alzheimer’s Research UK champion Karen Penny is set to complete her amazing 11,000 mile coastal walk around the UK and Ireland on World Alzheimer’s Day, 21 September, in the Shetland Islands.

Karen, 54, visited Argyll in October/November 2019 having started her journey in January that year, on foot from her home in the Gower, South Wales, to walk around the entire coastline of the UK and Ireland, only returning home when forced to by the COVID-19 pandemic. She had reached the small island of Muckle Flugga in the Shetlands (one of 110 islands that she has walked around as part of her journey), where she planted a flag before returning to her South Wales home for lockdown.

Inspired to support the UK’s leading dementia charity after both of her in-laws were affected by different forms of dementia, Karen has raised nearly £100,000 to fund vital research.

Karen says: ‘I can’t believe that my walk is coming to an end. I was so sad to have to leave the beautiful Shetland Islands last March because of COVID-19 restrictions, and I am now really excited to be returning to Muckle Flugga. I wonder if my Alzheimer’s Research UK flag is still where I left it!

‘The last two and a half years have been wonderful. Although it has sometimes been hard going, I have met so many great people, and heard so many heart-rending stories of the impact of Alzheimer’s disease and the other diseases that cause dementia on families. It has made me all the more determined to do whatever I can to raise awareness and raise money for Alzheimer’s Research UK, so that in future families can be spared the fear, harm and heartbreak that so many are currently experiencing.’

Hilary Evans, Chief Executive of Alzheimer’s Research UK, said: ‘We are so grateful to Karen for the amazing fundraising and awareness-raising that she has done, with such commitment, since the beginning of 2019.

‘As Karen has found with all the people who have shared their experiences with her on her journey, one in two people know someone affected by dementia. Through research, we can keep people connected to their families, their worlds and themselves for longer. Research has the power to make breakthroughs possible and Alzheimer’s Research UK is at the forefront of these efforts. We rely on public donations to fund our crucial research and it’s thanks to the commitment of people like Karen that we are able to increase the profile of dementia research and continue our important work.’

To sponsor Karen, go to www.justgiving.com/fundraising/thepennyrollson  

For further information about Alzheimer’s Research UK call 0300 111 5555 or visit www.alzheimersresearchuk.org