Michael to avoid the rain by trekking 500 miles in Spain
A 67-year-old will take the lyrics of the famous Proclaimers song ‘I would walk 500 miles’ in his stride when he treks across four provinces in Spain to raise money for St Catherine’s Hospice.
Italian Michael Iaverdino, who lives in Preston, will spend a month walking a gruelling pilgrimage route, hiking for six hours each day across Spanish terrain.
The dad-of-three, who is also set to become a grandfather in June, said: “It’s about 900 kilometres, just over 500 miles, and should take between 35 and 45 days, depending on how lost I get along the way!
“I’ve got a guide book and it’s actually an ancient pilgrimage route, so there are plenty of hostels and hotels.
“They’re relatively basic, sometimes with just a bed, and sometimes with a big dormitory with 200 people sleeping there, so it should be an interesting experience.”
Michael, who recently retired from working with the San Marco group of restaurants which includes Angelo’s and Pinocchio’s in Preston, will set off from Pamplona, the capital of northern Spain’s Navarre province, on April 2nd, and will travel all the way across to Santiago de Compostela on the far Western side of the country, just above Portugal.
The journey would take more than three hours on an aeroplane, or nearly seven hours to drive, but ambitious Michael and friend Santos Rivera are tackling the route on foot.
“It came about quite by accident really,” Michael explained. “I saw a programme on TV about the pilgrimage route and my friend and I just decided to do it.
“Then someone suggested I take the opportunity to raise money for charity in the process. I know about the good work of St Catherine’s Hospice and it’s a well-loved local charity, so I know the money will be put to good use supporting people in the community.”
He added: “I’m looking forward to it but I am a bit apprehensive. I’ve never been the fittest person in the world but I’m training, doing lots of walking, and I’m doing this for myself, for the experience.”
Michael also plans to mark the once-in-a-lifetime expedition by visiting the ‘end of the Earth’ before he returns home to his family. Cape Finisterre is a rock-bound peninsula on the west coast of Spain, and in Roman times it was believed to be the end of the known world.
Michael wants to look out to sea and reflect on his achievement before taking a well-earned rest and putting his feet up.
Norman Cutler, fundraiser at St Catherine’s Hospice, said: “Walking for six hours every day for a month is no easy feat, and everyone here at the hospice is very impressed by Michael’s determination.
“It sounds like it’s going to be a brilliant and very rewarding experience, and the fact that he’s supporting our charity along the way is even better.
“Michael’s right – all the money donated will be used to continue providing our specialised care here in the hospice and in the local community, for people facing life-shortening conditions.
“We wish him lots of luck and look forward to hearing all about his adventures when he returns home to Preston.”
To support Michael and to follow his progress, visit www.justgiving.com/Michael-Iaverdino. Collection boxes – known as St Catherine’s Cheeses because of their distinct colour and shape – have also been put in Angelo’s where diners can make a donation.
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