Roydon Nursery owner Michelle Bowgen completes long distance walk for friend with MS

Michelle Bowgen completed a gruelling long distance walk in order to raise funds for a friend who ha

Michelle Bowgen completed a gruelling long distance walk in order to raise funds for a friend who has stage two Multiple Sclerosis. Picture: Michelle Bowgen - Credit: Archant

A nursery owner has completed a gruelling long distance walk in order to raise funds for a friend with stage two multiple sclerosis.

Roydon Nursery owner Michelle Bowgen, 51, took on the 100km South Coast Challenge on August 26 to raise money toward stem cell treatment for her friend Martin Mannings.

She said: 'I did it to raise money for Martin.

'He's got stage two progressive multiple sclerosis and because he can't have the treatment in this country and the NHS can't fund it, he has to be prepared to raise the money himself.'

Miss Bowgen said that so far she has raised £700 in sponsorship and potentially more, a figure which is already £200 over her initial target.

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In total Mr Mannings needs £60,000 to be able to receive the treatment in full.

He has already been able to make a start with the treatment and it has already helped to stop the condition advancing.

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The South Coast Challenge saw more than 1,600 people take part in long distance walks, with many taking on the full 100km route which stretches from Eastbourne to Arundel.

Miss Bowgen said: 'It was like nothing I had done before, so when I first agreed to it I felt sure I would manage it but as it got closer it became more and more daunting.

'I do a lot of running and aerobics but I'm not a big walker.

'It was after 75km that it became a real challenge. By then it was about 10.30pm, I had three blisters and we were walking by torchlight.

'Then the final 8km became even harder because it was through woodland and there were big tree roots that we basically had to tiptoe over so that we didn't trip.'

Despite the challenges Miss Bowgen made it to the end, crossing the finish line at just after 4.30am on August 27.

'It was a really good experience and there was some beautiful scenery, especially as we had such nice weather,' she said. 'My feet have recovered now and I feel really proud of myself as it was a tough ask.

'I was also the 34th lady to finish. I'm amazed I managed it. When I finished I thought never again but now that it's been a few weeks, I'm starting to think it wasn't so bad and so maybe I'll do it again sometime.'

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