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Newbury photographer's Ridgeway 40 miles raises £2k for Ukraine and rising

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NEWBURY photographer David Hatfull completed the 40-mile Ridgeway40 walk from Avebury to Streatley in a single day on Saturday, raising thousands of pounds for Ukraine.

He said: "Taking part in the Ridgeway40 was a new experience for me. I'm a keen walker but have never walked 40 miles in a single day.

"The start is at The Stone Circle at Avebury where the Ridgeway, said to be the oldest route in Europe used by travellers since prehistoric times, follows a chalk ridge until it drops down to the River Thames at Streatley."

The early morning start was under some dark clouds and it began to drizzle, despite a forecast declaring only a five per cent chance of rain.

David Hatfull at finish of Ridgeway 40, picture Richard Markham
David Hatfull at finish of Ridgeway 40, picture Richard Markham
David Hatfull, Ridgeway 40, photo Richard Markham
David Hatfull, Ridgeway 40, photo Richard Markham

"By the time I had set off with another couple of walkers the sun had come out and the rest of the day was glorious spring sunshine," said Mr Hatfull.

"Viv, my early companion, clearly knew the ropes and it turned out she had taken part many times, declaring that she had given up running the route when she was 70.

"At 76 she was approaching the challenge slow and steady. After mile or two I realised that if I was to finish in time for a celebratory pint I’d have to up my pace. Anyway I was keen to spend time on my own to gather my thoughts."

As it turned out Mr Hatfull did find that he walked most of the route alone, despite the fact that there were more than 200 entries.

David Hatfull had little time to stop to photograph the Ridgeway scenery
David Hatfull had little time to stop to photograph the Ridgeway scenery

His original motivation to take part was to walk in memory of a good friend, Andy Cooke, who died last summer – on the day he finished another walk crossing the causeway to The Holy Island of Lindisfarne.

"Andy and I had known each other since 1991 when we had both set up working for ourselves, I as a freelance photographer and he a graphic designer," added Mr Hatfull. "He built a success small design and advertising agency just outside Oxford and we worked together for 30 years. In all that time we never had a disagreement, and he was always incredibly loyal. Everybody we worked for together loved him.

"As we both got older inevitably conversations turned to discussing what we would do in retirement, and I would jokingly say 'well you will be the last person I will work for'. Little did I know."

Ridgeway40 oilseed rape field
Ridgeway40 oilseed rape field

It was suggested that Mr Hatfull should try to raise some money for charity and although "reluctant to ask friends for money" he decided to set a target of £1,000 for the Ukrainian Refugee Appeal.

As a photographer, Mr Hatfull said it was frustrating because it was a perfect day for landscape photography, but he had deliberately left his camera in the studio to reduce the weight he was carrying.

"There are six checkpoints along the way to ensure that everyone taking part is accounted for," he said. "At one location there was an array of homemade cakes and at another a plate of cold rice pudding was on offer!

"Once I'd completed 22 miles there was a daunting realisation that I was only just over half way, but when shortly afterwards I arrived at the third checkpoint and was informed that this was the 28-mile point the adrenalin kicked in. At 30 miles I knew I was on the home straight and that pint of beer seemed distinctly possible.

"The last couple of miles are downhill but on gravel and tarmac, but with the end in sight it didn’t really matter.

"It had taken me about 12 hours to complete the walk. At the finish my good friends Richard and Jackie were there to transport me to a suitable watering hole."

To date the amount Mr Hatfull has raised stands at just over £2,000 and he said he is "staggered by the generosity of so many of my friends".

To donate, visit www.justgiving.com/David-Hatfull

Money raised by Mr Hatfull will support the DEC Ukraine Humanitarian Appeal.

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