Couple to walk Calderdale Way in honour of lost friends

Cheryl and Mark Lowry
Cheryl and Mark Lowry

The tragic loss of two close friends is inspiring a couple from Halifax to walk the 50-mile Calderdale Way in three days for charity.

Mark and Cheryl Lowry begin their challenge today in memory of Richard Marsden and Mark Varley, who died of brain tumours aged 33 and 43 respectively.

The walk coincides with mark’s 50th birthday, and the couple have already raised more than £1,700 of their £2,000 fundraising target for The Brain Tumour Charity.

Mark said: “As I was approaching this landmark birthday I was thinking a lot about my two longest and closest friends who were both taken tragically early due to brain tumours. Richard died in 2001 and Mark died in 2012.

“Richard moved away to Derby, married and had a family but we stayed in touch. I was best man for Richard and Mark and they were ushers when Cheryl and I married.

“Richard lived for five years following his diagnosis in 1996. He was a school teacher and he managed to return to work after a long period of chemotherapy until the cancer eventually beat him.

“Mark married and had a daughter but unbelievably he was diagnosed with a very aggressive brain tumour aged 43 in 2012. Between diagnosis and his death he only had three months.”

The loss of his two best friends hasn’t eased, said Mark, but it has galvanised him and his wife to support their chosen charity.

“Funding into research is very low and treatment and prognosis has improved very little over a number of years and yet so many people seem to be affected by the condition.

“I thought if I could do something to remember my friends and raise funds for such an important cause this would be a good way to honour them given I won’t be able to share a pint with them as I reach my half century.

“For them both to be struck down by brain tumours was so tragic and this is why I want to raise as much money as I can.”

Over 11,000 people are diagnosed each year with a primary brain tumour, with just 19 per cent of adults survive for five years after diagnosis.

To make a donation, visit https://www.justgiving.com/fundraising/cheryl-lowry.