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Graham puts best foot forward to raise £12,000 for charity

Insurance industry stalwart, Graham Reid has raised £12,000 for charity after completing the Camino de Santiago trek – which is a pilgrimage to the Cathedral of Santiago de Compostela in Galicia, Spain.

Graham, aged 72, who works for TL Dallas in Glasgow, walked for 775km through hilly terrain over a 45-day period to successfully complete the challenge.

Graham said: “My fascination with the Camino de Santiago trek started 12 years ago. Sister Margaretta from the Schoenstatt Sisters of Mary, who are based in Lennoxton near Glasgow and were clients of mine, told me that the 100 mile West Highland Way walk from Glasgow to Fort William, which I completed, was ‘chicken feed’ in comparison to Camino de Santiago! Her comment niggled away at me over the years, and I thought I better give it a go before I got any older!”

Graham was keen to raise money for the Beatson Cancer charity, which had supported both him when he was diagnosed with lymphoma just six months after his wife, Jane, was diagnosed with bowel cancer. Graham added: “We both used the services of Beatson Cancer for radiotherapy treatment and regularly support them at their annual fundraising dinner.

“I don’t like asking people for money, but my colleague Lorraine Scott created a Just Giving page and I am very grateful to her, and to all of those family members, friends, colleagues, clients and business associates who have been so generous. We have raised £6,000 for Beatson Cancer and TL Dallas match-funded that amount, so a further £6,000 will go to the firm’s Charitable Trust, which helps many other fabulous charities across the country.”

Graham set off on the trek in September. He flew to Paris and then started the walk from Saint-Jean-Pied-de-Port on the French side of the Pyrenees, walking to Roncesvalles on the Spanish side before making his way to Santiago de Compostela through the major cities of Pamplona, Logroño, Burgos and León.

Graham added: “I created a WhatsApp group so I could send updates and pictures of my progress. Unfortunately, Sister Margaretta isn’t on WhatsApp, so I sent her postcards instead! I used a local travel agent, Macs Travel in Glasgow, to plan and book the 40 hotels that I would stay in along the way. My wife kindly escorted me through Glasgow airport – my first challenge – and accompanied me for the first weekand then flew back out for the last two days to fetch me home! One of the trickiest parts of the trek was getting up each morning with my bags packed and delivering them to reception in time for them to be dispatched to the next hotel!

“I walked between 15 and 20 miles a day, apart from when there were some very challenging vertical climbs, so on those days I completed between five and nine miles a day. I had four rest days and treated myself with a few small beers at the end of each day! Even though I walked alone, I met some fascinating people along the way – lots of Americans and Europeans, all with interesting tales to tell.

“Each night I enjoyed what was called a ‘pilgrim’s meal’. The food was fantastic and great value at around 15 to 20 euros for a three-course meal and bottle of wine! No day was ever the same and I was lucky not to have any injuries – just tired legs and feet. I completed the walk at the end of October and would highly recommend it. So much so, that I plan to go back and complete a final section, known as the Camino Finisterre, which is a 90km trail from Santiago to Finisterre, on the western coast of Spain, in spring. This will take me to what pilgrims believed was the ‘end of the world’, which is the furthest west point on mainland Europe.”

Graham has been a valued member of the TL Dallas Group for 12 years. Its Glasgow offices are on West George Street.

Beatson Cancer Charity provides a comprehensive range of wellbeing and specialist services including complementary therapies, specialist health and work support and specialist activities delivered by charity staff and volunteers. 

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