Anthony J Hennigan

Land's End to John o' Groats walk at 70 (also completed at 50 & 60!)

Fundraising for Sue Ryder
raised of £3,000 target
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Participants: Self, and my faithful and loving canine companion, my Irish (Red) Setter, Rua, 12 years (a veteran of such walks as she successfully completed the End to End walk in 2011 and she has also walked the Pennine Way, and similar!).
The next few months may demand more of us all. But, with your help, well never stop caring. No matter what. Well continue to work tirelessly with families, friends and individuals to ensure that no one is ever left to cope alone.


In April 2001, when I was 50 years of age, together with my Red (Irish) Setter, Bess, I set off and walked from Land's End to John o' Groats (Dunscanby Head). As the Foot and Mouth disease was at its height, all my walking had to be carried out on roads In April 2011, when 60 years of age, together with my Red Setter, Rua (Gaelic for Red!), I set off and walked from John o' Groats (Duncansby Head) to Land's End Friends joined me for sections of my challenge and we walked the Great Glen, the West Highland Way, the Cumbria Way, etc - and oh yes, we also climbed Ben Nevis!

Each walk took a couple of months and I was entirely self-sufficient, refusing private lifts and public transport, and carrying my own heavy rucksack all the way. As I then worked for the BBC, my sponsored charity was Children in Need and I also asked supporters to consider donating blood. In 2015 whilst out walking with Rua my foot fell awkwardly into a rabbit hole and I heard my ankle bones crack! I suffered a double fracture and displacement of my ankle which was corrected by an operation and I now have a metal plate and screws inserted, please see photo! I was told that my ankle might well trouble me in 'later life' - well here I am in my 'later life'(!) and I'm pleased to report that it has not troubled me since - thank you, you wonderful NHS!

I am now 70 years of age, and on 27 April, having had my second coronavirus vaccination, I will commence walking from Land's End to John o' Groats (Duncansby Head) -for the final time(!) - again accompanied by Rua. Rua will turn 12 years of age on the walk, which is a good age for a Setter. The walk is around 1,000 miles (I don’t walk in a straight line!) and when I recently asked my vet if Rua was fit enough for the walk, she responded that Rua was, but she wasn't too sure about meIt is hoped that campsites open on 12 April and hopefully, ‘hotels, hostels and B&B’s’ will open on 17 May 2021 - so for the first 20 days at least, this old man and his old dog will be sleeping under canvas (or the modern waterproof and breathable equivalent!). If it’s similar to our last walk, I will also be walking with at least 34lbs on my back (and I wasn't carrying a tent the last time!) - and no, that won’t match the 34lbs on my front!

I am self-financing the walk - accommodation and food (and blister plasters, mobility scooter, walking stick, dog boots, etc, etc - only joking!) and I pondered on which charity to walk for

Fortunately, at the moment, my family are fit, healthy, well-nourished and thriving - but not everyone is so lucky. Over the years I have lost loved members of my family and friends who have been cared for in their final days by the wonderful staff of the Sue Ryder Manorlands Hospice in the village of Oxenhope near Keighley, West Yorkshire. It costs £4.1m to run Sue Ryder Manorlands Hospice per year and much of this is raised by sponsorship. As a result of the coronavirus pandemic, since March 2020very few sponsored events have taken place, so very little sponsorship monies have reached Sue Ryder Manorland - and also, their charity shops are closedJust to remind you of some of the services offered by Sue Ryder Manorlands:

 The hospice provides expert palliative care, advice and support for people who are dealing with life-limiting conditions, as well as supporting their families.

 Sue Ryder Nurses and therapists from the hospice also provide care for people who prefer to receive palliative care at home.

 Hospice staff include specialist doctors, Sue Ryder Nurses, care assistants, physiotherapists, occupational and complementary therapists, as well as Family Support and Spiritual Care teams. 

 National healthcare charity Sue Ryder, which runs Sue Ryder Manorlands Hospice is experiencing a funding gap of £2 million a month. With every additional week its shops are closed and sponsorship events are not taking place, the registered charity loses another £500,000.

 For more information about Sue Ryder Manorlands Hospice, please see


Please be assured that any donation you make will go directly to those persons who are most in need and please remember that your kindness and generosity will directly help improve the quality of life of those being helped at times of trauma and crisis in their lives. 

This on-line type of donation is simple, fast and totally secure. Your details are safe and will never be passed on to any third party and If you are a UK taxpayer, make sure Gift Aid is reclaimed. 

Might I also mention that I am a lifelong donor to the NHS Blood and Transplant Service, please see I first donated blood 50 years ago whilst attending my initial police training course, when I was encouraged, nay compelled(!), to donate, and since then I have donated blood/plasma/platelets as often as possible and in fact I recently received an award for donating my 750th unit.

The NHS Blood and Transplant Service are currently facing their own challenges in providing hospitals with the blood, plasma and platelets they need. I know that some of you might have reservations in donating blood during the current climate but I can categorically assure you that it is as safe and pleasant as ever. Your temperature is taken upon arrival and you answer some health questions before embarking on the usual process.  I would urge you to consider making a blood donation, especially, but not exclusively, if you cant afford to donate to Sue Ryder Manorlands! This link is for first-time donors and this is the link for those who have donated previously and who wish to make an appointment to donate again I promise you that you will leave the session with a feel-good factor, knowing that you have either saved or helped improve another person’s life. What is there not to like!  

I apologise for the War and Peace type proportion of my story, but I feel obligated to outline all pertinent points. 

Tony Hennigan

1 April 2021 (yes, honest!)



tel 07748 502 888

About the campaign

The next few months may demand more of us all. But, with your help, well never stop caring. No matter what. Well continue to work tirelessly with families, friends and individuals to ensure that no one is ever left to cope alone.

About the charity

Sue Ryder

Verified by JustGiving

RCN 1052076
Sue Ryder is here to make sure everyone approaching the end of their life or living with grief can get the support they need. There is no one size fits all when it comes to how we cope and the help we need, but with our support, no one has to face dying or grief alone. We are there when it matters.

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