A father will be wild camping – something which helped him cope after losing his son – to raise money in memory of his ‘happy go lucky’ friend who died following a short battle with cancer.
Stuart Rodger, from Farnworth, has always had a love for the outdoors.
And after his son Ryan Davies tragically died aged just 30, in a motorbike accident in 2017 he says he went in to a ‘dark place’ and getting outside as well as wild camping “really helped him”.
Stuart’s friend Danny Bower, 63, died from oesophagus cancer on November 19, 2022, at Bolton Hospice, after only being diagnosed six weeks prior.
Stuart said: “I knew him and his family for about 25 years to 30 years.
“He was a happy go lucky guy and I never saw him lose his rag.
“If you had a problem, you could go and have a brew and he used to come round to ours for tea regularly.
“Going round and visiting him before he went in the hospice and seeing him, knocked me for six.
“I lost quite a few friends to cancer over the years and it’s a horrendous condition.
“It has a knock-on effect and makes you value your own life and the people in it.”
Danny was a self-employed builder and had two children, Jade and Danny who sadly died in 2021.
Jade says that her dad was “helpful, fun, funny” and always up for a laugh.
She said: “He was always helpful, fun, and funny, and always up for a laugh.
“He loved karaoke.
“He was a builder, so everybody knew him, and he was an all-round good guy who did anything for anyone.
“He was such a good dad.”
Jade says that she cared for him at home and when she took him to the hospice they were “amazing” and that she could not have done it without them.
She added: “We wouldn’t have been able to do this without the hospice, they made the hardest time in my life easier, and it meant that we could spend his last days with him, rather than caring for him.”
Stuart previously took on Ben Nevis, Snowdonia and Scafell Pike last year where he did wild camping at all of them except for Ben Nevis.
Wild camping is where people set up their tents anywhere apart from camp sites.
He is now set to walk the Cleveland Way route in six days, starting at Helmsley and finishing at Filey, which works at to be around 109 miles.
He added: “I always had a love for the outdoors anyway and thought why not give it a try.
“I didn’t know that the hospice ran on donations.
“Wild camping and getting outside really helped me out of a dark hole.
“If people are suffering, going out and talking to people is really helpful and there are people you can talk to, to get the help needed.”
To support Stuart and help him on his journey, click here