Fat Man Walking
Gav Thompson is what he describes as a "fully-fledged fat man" - and he's walking in miles the combined amount of stones he and his fellow fat friend Matt weigh to raise awareness of the terminal disease Spinal Muscular Atrophy Type 1. Find out why.
He calls himself a "fully-fledged fat man", but Gav Thompson's weight has been the inspiration for a charity walk that will take him and a 17-strong team on a 52-mile tour of Berkhire and Oxfordshire.
The Abingdon man dreamt up the walking challenge after his best friends' five-month old daughter Georgia died from the terminal disease Spinal Muscular Atrophy Type 1 (SMA).
The baby girl from Newbury died on Sunday 6 January 2008 after a three-month fight to stay alive.
Gav said: "There is little awareness of SMA in the UK, despite it being the largest genetic killer of babies and toddlers in the UK."
This spurred Gav into action.
He plumped for a walk to raise awareness and funds for The Jennifer Trust for Spinal Muscular Atrophy and the Naomi House Children's Hospice, where baby Georgia passed away.
Gav teamed up with his similarly "generously-proportioned" friend, Matt Whitticase, and the two hauled themselves off the couch and have been training furiously since October.
"We weren't sure how far we could or should walk," said Gav, "so to start with we both got on the bathroom scales, only to find that our combined weight was literally 'off' the scale.
He added: "Consequently we figured we should walk as many miles as our combined weight - and that gave us the 52 mile target."
The other walkers are all friends and family of Georgia's parents, Nick and Emma Macpherson from Newbury, who are also doing the walk.
The 17 walkers have so far raised over £72,000 in sponsorship from friends and colleagues.
Gav said: "The walkers have received significant support and athletic advice from their somewhat trimmer friend, Oxfordshire resident, Tim Henman."
Speaking on the Andrew Peach breakfast programme on BBC Radio Berkshire, he added:
"We've got the backing of the Archbishop of Canterbury who sent us a wonderful message, so that's keeping us going."
The team started the walk this morning, on Thursday 7 February.
Speaking on his mobile phone on the walk Gav told BBC Radio Berkshire: "We're walking through Reading to Sonning, then we turn inland and walk back up the Kennet canal to just beyond Newbury.
And what's been the topics of conversation so far?
"Vaseline actually! And whether we did what we managed to do in the morning....I do want to have a little singsong at some point."
The team are hoping to raise a total of £100,000.
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last updated: 08/02/2008 at 11:23