A Borders pensioner is gearing up to put her best foot forward for mental health when she takes on the 62-mile St Cuthbert’s Way.
Sarah Dixon, 76, of Hownam, will walk the route over seven days to raise funds for Mental Health Research UK.
Sarah was inspired to do something for the charity in memory of her former husband John Ravilious, a schizophrenia sufferer.
“John was plagued by voices in his head for almost all of his adult life,” she told us.
“Most of the time he managed to live with his voices, but every so often he would go through a major and debilitating breakdown. He was a one-off, lovely guy. The illness prevented him from doing a lot of things in his life that he would otherwise have done.”
Sarah believes research is the key to finding treatments that could revolutionise the lives of people such John.
She said: “Around one in every 100 people suffer from the illness John had.
“It is one of the most debilitating and emotionally devastating illnesses known to man. Because it has been misunderstood for so long it has received relatively little attention and its victims have been undeservedly stigmatised.
“Mental illness accounts for a third of all illness, but research into it attracts less than 10% of all health-related research funds.”
Last year, Sarah and her husband Mike opened their Old Coach House garden in Hownam to the public, raising almost £900 for the charity.
“This year we decided to do something different,” she said. “Six years ago, we walked St Cuthbert’s Way, and we have decided to give it a go again.
“I’m hoping I can still do it in my advancing years.”
Sarah is also inviting others to give a small donation and join her for all or parts of the Melrose-Lindisfarne walk, from May 30 to June 5.
“The first four days are never longer than nine miles and are all accessible by a bus service,” she said.
To support Sarah’s efforts, go to www.justgiving.com/fundraising/sarah-dixon29
Sponsor forms can also be found at Morebattle village shop, Yetholm village shop and St Aidan’s Church’s cafe in Morebattle.