Chichester couple’s 52km Isle of Wight challenge for the Encephalitis Society

A Chichester couple is set to walk 52km for a charity which supports people with life-threatening brain injuries.

Friday, 4th June 2021, 9:00 am
Updated Friday, 4th June 2021, 9:41 am

Jonathan and Catherine Harry, of Brandy Hole Lane, will take part in the Isle of Wight Challenge for the Encephalitis Society on Saturday, July 10.

It is the latest long-distance challenge that Jonathan, a veteran of the Great South Run, has done for the charity since he was affected by the condition, an inflammation of the brain, in 2009.

But this time he will be joined by his wife for the trek half way around this Isle of Wight this summer.

Chichester couple Jonathan and Catherine Harry are taking on the Isle of Wight Challenge to raise money for the Encephalitis Society

Jonathan said: “When I first became ill with encephalitis, I had to lean on my wife and family more than ever before to help me come to terms with life with an acquired brain injury.

“Catherine has been my rock all the way through those dark days and has also supported me in my different challenges for the Encephalitis Society.

“When I said I wanted to enter the Isle of Wight Challenge this year, she said she would love to be by my side.”

Walking has been a constant source of comfort for Jonathan and Catherine who met each other on a walking holiday around The Cevennes in Montpellier in 1997.

Catherine said: “Walking has played a part of our both of lives for many years and is how we met and fell in love.

“I haven’t done a walk of this distance for over 25 years, so I am quite nervous about how it will go but determined at the time to reach the finishing line.”

Around 6,000 people in the UK are affected by encephalitis each year and estimates from Public Health England suggest it costs the NHS around £40million a year to provide care for those with the condition – not including the costs of rehabilitation and long-term care.

Dr Ava Easton, chief executive of The Encephalitis Society, said: “What Jonathan and Catherine are planning to do in support of the Encephalitis Society is fantastic on so many levels.

“Any money raised will help the society to provide support for our members and fund research into the condition as well as raise awareness among people who may never heard of encephalitis before.

“Most people have not heard of encephalitis unless it has happened to them or a loved one and we are determined to change that.

“Encephalitis is a thief – robbing families of their loves ones or, if they survive, the person they once knew.

“It steals memories, personalities, and abilities we take for granted: concentration, attention, thinking, judgement, and inhibition, to name a few.

“For many of our members there are additional challenges such as epilepsy and levels of fatigue so great that returning to a normal working life can be difficult.”

Visit Jonathan and Catherine’s JustGiving page to donate to their fundraiser.

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