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25 May 2022

'We will love and miss you forever,' family's over 400 mile walk to Tipperary for loved one

Incredible!

Tipperary Tipperary Tipperary

Last year, their cousin Katie Dawson, a barrister based in Ireland, passed away from illness at the age of 41.

Several members of a Kentish town Irish family have walked from London to the border of Tipperary (405 miles) to raise funds in memory of their late cousin.

The Dawson family has always participated in fundraising for cancer charities ever since a young David Dawson had leukaemia in his teens.

Thankfully, David recovered and in gratitude, David and siblings Bernadette, Andrea and Mark have been to the fore in raising money for cancer charities.

Last year, their cousin Katie Dawson, a barrister based in Ireland, passed away from illness at the age of 41.

This inspired the four siblings, along with childhood friend Ben Poole, to walk from London to Tipperary in aid of Women’s Aid, a charity close to Katie’s heart, and Momentum children’s charity.

With strong Tipperary connections they used the well-known song: It’s a long way to Tipperary, to further inspire their challenge.

Members of the Dawson family: David, Bernadette and Mark arrive at Tipperary Town after walking from London

Bernadette Dawson explained their reasons behind the challenge.

"We wanted to raise money for a charity in our beloved Ireland and Women’s Aid became top of our list. We all saw the impact lockdown had on so many people, but particularly women who suffered from threatening, controlling and violent abuse in their own homes.

"Unfortunately and wrongly this has always been around but lockdown highlighted how desperate this situation had become. Our wonderful and inspiring cousin Katie not only worked with Women’s Aid; she was also a barrister who supported women through the legal system.

"Katie gave these women a voice, she was a strong force of nature and used her experience and knowledge to help save and change women’s lives in Ireland forever.

"We would like to dedicate the last part of our walk to Katie who sadly passed away from an illness at the young age of 41. Katie you have inspired us all and your hard work will not be forgotten, it will continue through Women’s Aid, through your family and friends," said Bernadette.

The walk was long delayed as a result of Covid so there was great excitement when it eventually got underway on April 1. Walking about 28 miles a day, it effectively amounted to waking a marathon every day.

Arriving in Ireland they were joined on day 12 of their walk by their cousin Anita and with Tipperary in their sights their thoughts were with their late cousin.

David and Bernadette spent much of their childhood in Ireland while Andrea was actually born there. The family connection with the Glen of Aherlow is through Margaret O’Brien of Coach Road, who told Martin Quinn that she is immensely proud of them and of what they have achieved in fundraising for charity.

"Almost €6,000 has already been raised and the link is still open for donations. Whatever you can afford to give will be greatly appreciated,"said Margaret.

You can access the link at justgiving.com/fundraising/Bernadette-dawson2

On day 13 of the walk the Dawson siblings along with their childhood friend, Ben, arrived in Tipp Town having completed their 405 mile walking journey.

The group gave this message: “Thank you to our family who walked with us. Thank you to everyone who followed our journey and who have donated so generously, we really appreciate it.

“Most importantly a big thank you to Tom, Pauline, Paddy and Liz who have supported us, made us laugh and kept us going when grieving themselves, they are our inspiration. We will love and miss you forever, Katie.”

Written by Martin Quinn

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