Ex-mayor defies disease to complete 192-mile walk

STOWMARKET: A popular former teacher and ex-town mayor has raised more than �8,300 for charity by completing a coast-to-coast walk.

Last year Gordon Paton, 71, from Stowmarket, was diagnosed with motor neurone disease, but despite his loss of speech and the ongoing debilitating effect of the illness, he is not letting it hold him back.

With the support of the 30-strong “Team Paton” he recently completed an incredible 192-mile trek from St Bees in Cumbria to Robin Hood’s Bay in Yorkshire.

His wife Eve walked every step of the way with him and described it as a “fantastic” achievement.

She said: “We were well supported by a dietician in Ipswich so we had lots of food supplements and we were able to boost up his energy.

“There were 30 people who came up and stayed at the various times and places. It was amazing that they all came and helped by driving, cooking meals and walking with us.

“And it was very emotional when he dipped his feet in the water at Robin Hood’s Bay.”

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The walk was in support of the Motor Neurone Disease Association (MNDA), which has helped Mr Paton. The walkers wore MNDA T-shirts during the trek and collected donations from many people they passed on the way.

Mrs Paton added: “People were asking about it and so by doing the walk we raised the profile of the disease across the country.”

Mr Paton worked for 28 years as a geography teacher at Ipswich School and also served on Stowmarket Town Council for more than three decades, being mayor on three occasions.

He also held the post of vice chairman of Mid Suffolk District Council and for ten years was a blue badge guide for the Association of Registered Tourist Guides in Bury St Edmunds.

Mrs Paton added: “It [completing the walk] has really given him a lot of achievement and everybody involved got a huge amount out of it.

“I’m full of admiration for him. I don’t know how he does it, really.”

Mr and Mrs Paton and their family, including four children and four grandchildren, would like to thank everyone who has supported them. All the money raised will go to the MNDA. To make a donation, visit www.justgiving.com/gordon-paton.