70-year-old Dr David Henderson Slater is setting off on a journey of a lifetime this June.

The consultant from Botley in Oxford has worked in the NHS for over 30 years and is marking his recent retirement by tackling the world-famous walk from Land’s End to John O’Groats.

The day before setting off David popped into the charity office and told us why he is taking on the 1,200-mile challenge.

David explained: “I have wanted to do this for over thirty years, it’s been a real dream of mine. And now, as I have recently turned 70 and finally retired from the NHS, I have the time to take on this challenge.

“In my younger years, I worked in the RAF as a Squadron Leader Medical Officer. That took me to places like Alaska, Central America and Borneo, and I was trained in jungle and winter survival. Maybe some of those skills will come in useful!

“When I left the RAF I joined the NHS and for over 20 years I have worked at the Oxford Centre for Enablement at the Nuffield Orthopaedic Centre as a consultant in rehabilitation.

“Over the years I have worked with so many patients who have had brain injuries, strokes or suffered serious injury or trauma, and it has taught me that you never know what might be around the corner in life, so it is important to do the things you love.

David’s route will take him through Cornwall, Devon, Somerset, along Offa’s Dyke and up to Liverpool, the city where he was born. Once in Scotland, he will walk along the West Highland Way, past Loch Ness and along the East Coast until he reaches John O’Groats.

He plans to walk 12 – 15 miles a day and expects to complete the challenge in mid-September.

David will be staying in various B&B’s but also plans to do some camping along the way and is impressed by how light his tent and sleeping bag are. That said he is keeping space in his rucksack for some literary classics, books he has always planned to read but has never had the time.

“I’m hoping to read War and Peace, Crime and Punishment and some other great classics – I love the idea of having time to read and think – something that hasn’t always been possible in a busy NHS career.”

David has decided to raise funds for Oxford Hospitals Charity and has set up a JustGiving page ready for the event: “The charity does a huge amount across our hospitals – funding specialist medical equipment and making the hospitals more comfortable and welcoming for patients.

“I’ve seen their work first hand as a consultant, but also as a patient – as over the years I have been supported by various medical teams myself, including having brain surgery to remove a tumour.

“I do hope my efforts will inspire others to support my fundraising or take on their own challenge in support of the charity.”

Lorna Eaton from Oxford Hospitals Charity added: “It was so lovely to meet David and wish him good luck with his adventure. It means a huge amount to the charity team when hospital staff show their support in this way, and we can’t wait to see his updates as he moves his way up the country.”

David’s Land’s End to John O’Groats walk starts on Friday 14 June.

To support his fundraising

Click here