Cumbrian widower finishes walk around country, raising thousands of pounds in memory of his wife


A Cumbrian man has completed his 1,800 mile across the UK in memory of his late wife, raising thousands of pounds for the MS Society.

Gary Rushworth, 64, from Barrow-in-Furness, lost his wife Moira in February 2020 following complications related to her multiple sclerosis (MS).

In her memory, he has walked coast to coast twice, firstly across southern Scotland and then walking from Land's End to John O'Groats, across northern England.

Along the way, he stopped at many locations that held special memories for him and Moira.

The challenge began on Thursday 14 April in Carlisle, the place and date Gary and Moira first met.

Today, it ended in Longtown, Cumbria - Moira's place of birth and on her birthday.

Other special occasions Gary marked included:

  • First date - Canonbie, 17 April

  • Engagement - Malham Cove, 21 June

  • Wedding - Holy Trinity Church, Darlington, 19 June

Gary Rushworth with wife Moira, who was diagnosed with progressive MS aged 39 Credit: Gary Rushworth/PA

Gary, who retired in 2014 to become Moira's full-time carer, says: "This year is an important year for me as it would have been Moira's 60th Birthday and our 35th wedding anniversary.

"I very much want to achieve something for which she would be proud. Moira and I both had a love for walking and it was one of the first loves that MS stole from her.

"Ultimately, this prevented us from having the twilight years of our lives walking the paths of this beautiful country together.

"There are currently very few treatment options for people living with progressive forms of MS and this meant Moira's condition worsened over time, leading to extended periods of time in hospital and a weakened immune system."

Gary adds: "it was heartbreaking to see her life painfully ebb away, and finally be lost far too soon. I hope that the walks will give me the opportunity to raise awareness of the needs of MS sufferers and funds for the MS Society.

"I want to do something that will help make it possible that what Moira suffered, and affected our family and friends, doesn't happen to others."

Gary is raising money for Octopus, the world-first mega-trial for progressive MS funded by the MS Society.

Mark Haymes, Community Fundraising Lead at the MS Society, says: "We're so grateful to Gary for his generous commitment of time and energy to take on this poignant challenge in memory of his wife, Moira.