Devoted mother jumps for joy after completing marathon walk in memory of daughter

A Ludlow mum leapt with joy after finishing a long-distance walk along part of Offa’s Dyke Path in memory of her beloved daughter.

Diane at the finish
Diane at the finish

Non driver Di Lyle left Ludlow on June 25 and a rail strike scuppered plan A but she turned to Plan B and took the bus to Knighton where she was to pick up the Offa’s Dyke Path the following day.

She triumphed on July 3 when she finished the walk in memory of her daughter, Sam Holland. The date was the first anniversary of when ‘inspirational’ daughter Sam died from cancer at the age of 50 – just 11 weeks after having received her diagnosis.

A sportswoman and teacher, she had been admitted to hospital in Bath in May 2021 and was transferred to St Margaret’s Hospice in Taunton in June.

Di reckons her total distance was 94 miles or 151 km and so far, she and her youngest daughter Jen have raised more than £2,000 for the hospice which cared for Sam.

Ms Lyle said she always knew the walk would be a huge challenge. She had never done anything like it before and she was the first to admit her map-reading skills were ‘newly acquired’.

She said that she set out on Sunday morning "shaking from head to toe with terror" but things were a lot better than she feared.

"However, the path on that day was well waymarked, the weather was clement and kindly and she even coped with walking through a large field of cows and calves unscathed.

"Having been brought up in Greater London that was not a common experience for me."

Ms Lyle added: “Everything I read told me that the path was well marked and that I would meet plenty of people along the route. Neither proved to be the case.

"The waymarking was irregular, sometimes non-existent, sometimes inaccurate – and the few people I did meet en-route were walking in the opposite direction. However, when the waymarking was there it made the walk a pleasure.”

Her longest day was Wednesday June 29, including a walk of about 14 miles or 22.5 km. Because Di doesn’t drive and walks everywhere, and had been in training to increase her distances and stamina, she wasn’t daunted by the mileage; what worried her was getting lost – and that was the day she did get lost.

“I ended up at a dead-end in someone’s drive,” Di said.

“I had absolutely no idea where I was. My younger daughter, Jen, had signed me up to an app where she could track me but the property was new and had no postcode. There was no way of rescuing me so I sat on the garden wall and waited for the owners to return, with a workshop to shelter in if needs be. The owners did return and took me to my accommodation.”

She had walked 17 miles.

Di’s last challenge was on the final day.

She had been joined by her younger daughter, Jen, by then and they opted to follow the Wye Valley Greenway from Tintern to Chepstow instead of trying to find and follow the Offa’s Dyke Path.

Top Stories

More from the Shropshire Star

UK & International News