A NETHERTON pensioner has celebrated her 60th birthday by completing the challenge of a lifetime.
Two hip replacements couldn’t deter Susan Kirby from achieving her 197-mile coast to coast dream.
The retired health visitor made it her mission to take up the gruelling trek following the death of her father seven years ago.
She tackled up to 15 miles a day – often with the help of painkillers – to complete a route from St Bees in Cumbria, through the Lake District, Pennines, North Yorkshire Moors to Robin Hood’s Bay, near Whitby.
Her efforts burned her 1,200 calories a day and raised more than £2,000 for three charities.
The mum-of-three said: “It is just an uplifting experience.
“It is euphoria, achieving something I have always wanted to do because it is very easy to let things slip by.
“The money I have raised is also a compliment to those who have supported me. The response of people who have made donations has been amazing.”
Her achievement is even more momentous because Susan was born with a hip problem forcing her to undergo surgery in her 50s.
It was only after two hip replacements – the first more than seven years ago – that she was able to consider the coastal challenge.
She added: “I had just had my first hip replacement when my father died. I had developed arthritis and was in a lot of pain.
“On the day he died, I said I am going to do the coast to coast walk. It was as a tribute to him.”
She vowed to complete the walk for charities including the Camphill Trust – a cause close to her father’s heart.
The trust runs a communal village at Botton, North Yorkshire, which offers opportunities for people with learning disabilities, mental health problems and other special needs.
Her trip included a visit to the village to see the work they do.
She was also walking for Kirkwood Hospice and the West Yorkshire Forget Me Not Trust.
The tough mission has also helped Susan improve her health.
She said: “I feel really well and have trimmed up remarkably. I have now got muscle.
“I wore a step counter when I was walking and I was burning between 1,000 and 1,200 calories a day.
“It has just been great.”
Susan walked for 18 days and was joined by family and friends for just five days along the way.
Her walk across England followed a route made famous by Alfred Wainwright.