‘My story gave people hope’: Bob Champion marks 40 years since Grand National victory with new challenge

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  • Bob Champion will embark on a 191-mile anniversary walk from Aintree next month, 40 years on from his Grand National win aboard Aldaniti.

    The #Bobs40For40Challenge walk is in aid of the Bob Champion Cancer Trust and he will leave Aintree on 11 April, the day after the 2021 Randox Health Grand National.

    The 191-mile route represents the 191 days from his diagnosis on 14 July 1979, to receiving the all-clear on 31 January 1980. It will feature 40 stops, all connected with his life story and representing every year from 1981 to 2021, finishing at Findon, where Aldaniti was trained.

    “My story 40 years ago gave hope to people around the world fighting cancer,” said Bob. “I have dedicated my life to the cause and hope that people will support me again on this anniversary walk for the good work my trust does on a daily basis.”

    The stops include Tom Dascombe, Dan Skelton and Jonjo O’Neill’s yards, as well as places of interest such as Barkfold Manor, where Aldaniti lived in retirement and is buried.

    At each place, Bob will walk a circuit, or up and down the gallops, and he will be joined by people along the way. Members of the public can also apply to be sponsored to join him on certain days, in line with Covid restrictions.

    Martin Tedham, chairman of the pharmaceutical industry partner Wasdell Group which is supporting Bob and also sponsors Jonjo O’Neill Racing, added: “Bob Champion’s story of surviving cancer and the amazing contribution he has since made towards funding research into the disease is legendary.

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    “I have spent decades working closely with partners who develop life-saving drugs for serious illnesses, and in the spare time that I have, I love nothing better than dropping into Jackdaws Castle to see the great progress my friends Jonjo and Jacqui are making with my racehorses, including Sky Pirate who won at this year’s Cheltenham festival, so I feel an affinity with what Bob is doing.

    “I sadly lost my wife Carol to cancer three years ago, and of course Jonjo has also had to deal with cancer in the past, so it’s an absolute privilege to support Bob in such a worthy endeavour.”

    To donate, visit Bob’s JustGiving page.

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