Heanor fundraiser takes on famous 100-mile march in memory of her dad

Heanor resident Lesley Beresford is taking part in a Walk the Walk fundraising march in the Dutch city of Nijmegen, in memory of her dad
Heanor resident Lesley Beresford is taking part in a Walk the Walk fundraising march in the Dutch city of Nijmegen, in memory of her dad

A woman from Heanor is to take on the biggest walking event in the world to raise funds for a cancer charity in memory of her dad.

Lesley Beresford, 54, has signed up for Nijmegen 4 Day Marches, July 16-19, as part of a group raising money for Walk the Walk.

Lesley with her dad, Barrie Slater, who lived in Langley Mill until his death in 2017.

Lesley with her dad, Barrie Slater, who lived in Langley Mill until his death in 2017.

She said: “Having done three Walk the Walk London Marathons I decided to do something a little different this year, and I have wanted to do this challenge in the Netherlands for a few years.”

The event began in 1909 and now welcomes around 47,000 people each year, covering 40 kilometres a day through the Dutch city of Nijmegen and its surroundings.

For Lesley, the challenge is also something of a pilgrimmage to mark what would have been her dad Barrie Slater’s 80th birthday year.

She said: “When I first thought about doing this, I told dad my plans and I couldn’t even pronounce Nijmegen.

Barrie took on the Nijmegen Marches in 1960 when he was in the army.

Barrie took on the Nijmegen Marches in 1960 when he was in the army.

“He smiled, corrected me, and said that he had done it in 1960 when he was in the army. He said if I did it, he would be there on the finish line.

“The next week I went to visit him and he had found his medal and a photo of him on the walk.”

Lesley’s father died in 2017, four weeks after he was diagnosed with lung cancer.

She said: “I have friends who’ve survived cancer, but I’ve also lost friends to the disease, and I have supported cancer charities over the last 17 years.”

In preparation, Lesley has been waking up early every morning and walking up to nine miles with her Tibetan terrier, Rosie, before going to work as a care coordinator at West Hallam Medical Centre.

She said: “My friends have asked me if I’m nervous about taking on such a huge challenge but actually I’m actually feeling really positive right now, and look forward to meeting all the other walkers.

“I know I am training properly, I’m having weekly massages and looking after my feet, I’m just really excited.”

Lesley has raised more than £3,300 already with a series of local events. To make a donation, go to https://bit.ly/30fXyZU.