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Northern Ireland man reaches England on epic Euro trek home to Keady in aid of dementia charities

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Eamonn Donnelly and Sepp Tieber leaving Dover for the next leg of The Long Walk Home

Eamonn Donnelly and Sepp Tieber leaving Dover for the next leg of The Long Walk Home

Eamonn Donnelly and Sepp Tieber leaving Dover for the next leg of The Long Walk Home

A man from Northern Ireland has arrived in Dover from Europe after chalking up more than 1,500km of an epic 2,500km expedition from his home in Austria to Co Armagh to raise awareness and funds for dementia research.

Eamonn Donnelly and his friend Sepp Tieber, from Graz in Austria, will walk across southern England and Wales to take the ferry from Fishguard to Rosslare in the Republic for the final leg to Eamonn's home village of Keady.

Their trek - The Long Walk Home - was inspired by Eamonn's mother Margaret, who died in April 2014 at the age of 71, having suffered from a rare and aggressive form of dementia.

The aim is to increase awareness about dementia, given the massive increase in incidence of the disease in recent years, while also raising funds for research in the UK, Ireland and Austria.

Both the Alzheimer's Society in the UK and The Alzheimer Society of Ireland will benefit from the trek.

While Armagh is still the place Eamonn calls home, he has lived in Austria since 1990 with his wife and three children.

In the last year they came up with the idea of The Long Walk Home, which was born out of a frustration about the disease.

Eamonn said: "The idea for The Long Walk Home, from Austria to Keady, featured in many a late-night pub talk, but that's where it started and ended.

"When my mother Margaret passed away a few years ago the idea took on a new meaning and purpose.

"Frustrated that nothing could be done to alleviate the symptoms let alone cure this cruel disease, it became apparent to me and my family that much more needed to be done to understand and tackle it.

"The Long Walk Home is a very small step to doing just that."

Now seven weeks into the trek and over 1,500km down the road, the journey has been marked by many ups and downs, both literally and emotionally.

Having arrived in Dover, the men plan to reach Fishguard around August 30 to catch the Irish ferry.

The two hikers hope to reach their final destination around September 8.

  • More information is available at: https://thelongwalkhome.wixsite.com/thelongwalkhome

Belfast Telegraph