Anglo Welsh support for charitable walk on the Warwickshire Canal Ring helps raise over £2,000
Phil Seedhouse is a 61-year-old IT manager from Solihull with a passion for keeping fit and music. A 100 mile canal walk to raise money for Cardiomyopathy UK certainly put his fitness to the test, and when Anglo Welsh stepped in to provide a much needed ‘support boat’ at the eleventh hour it was music to his ears!
The Warwickshire Towpath Challenge normally involves walking a 100 mile stretch of the West Midlands Canal Ring in 5-7 days, but Phil decided to really test his own endurance by tackling the route in just 4 days, with friends and family joining him on different stretches along the way: on the towpath, at locks, or on the water.
Unfortunately, Phil’s best-laid plans were nearly scuppered two weeks before the challenge when a water pipe burst on his crucial ‘support boat’. Rather than cancel, Phil sent out an SOS to old friend, Tom Willson, Anglo Welsh’s joint base manager at Tardebigge on the Worcester and Birmingham Canal. As a business with a long track record of supporting charitable causes, Anglo Welsh responded to the mayday with the 65ft ‘Silver Spirit’, a 6-berth Estuary Class narrowboat.
“I have done plenty of sailing in my time,” says Phil, “but this was my first time on a narrowboat and I couldn’t get over how comfortable it was. Having a luxury canal boat along for support and knowing I would have a great place to put my feet up at the end of the day was a real bonus.”
“I really enjoyed the variety of landscapes along the towpaths, from picturesque waterways on the stretch between Atherstone and Polesworth, to places like Birmingham and Tamworth where you see the industrial heritage. Not to mention the great pubs at Hatton Lock and Hartshill! But I really looked forward to my relaxing evenings on the ‘Silver Spirit’.”
Enjoyable though it was, the raison d’être for Phil’s towpath challenge was raising funds for a good cause. “Our aim was to raise as much money as possible through sponsorship for Cardiomyopathy UK,” he says. “Our initial target was to raise £1,000 but thanks to the support of Anglo Welsh and others we have already raised well over £2,000 and the donations are still coming in. That money goes directly to Cardiomyopathy UK to help them improve the lives of those that suffer from this disease and to improve diagnosis by increasing genetic testing for those who may be inheritors of the gene.”
To make a donation to Cardiomyopathy UK go to www.virginmoneygiving.com/philseedhouse
Phil himself was diagnosed with Hypertrophic Cardiomyopathy (HCM) several years ago. Like most people, he had never heard of the condition before. “Cardiomyopathy is a disease of the heart muscle and can take several forms but can cause death if severe enough,” he explains. “You may remember the sudden death of David Frost’s son who died when out jogging at the age of 31 from heart failure caused by HCM.”
“There are often no symptoms associated with the condition which means that it can often go undiagnosed until it’s too late. I certainly had no idea I was suffering from HCM until I was diagnosed. Fortunately, I only have a mild case and it doesn’t stop me keeping fit and active, but one of the things I hope to do is raise awareness of the condition. So a very big thank-you to Anglo Welsh for stepping into the breach at the last minute and making my Towpath Challenge such a successful one.”
At least one in 500 British people has a type of cardiomyopathy and it affects people of all ages. Find out more about the heart muscle condition at cardiomyopathy.org