THEY may be 300 miles apart but that won't stop a terminally ill man and his granddaughter completing a fund-raising walk together this weekend.

Ray Hall (75), of Hexham, and his 12-year-old granddaughter Lottie Cooper, in West Sussex, will set off on a two-mile walk round their homes at 10am on Sunday, keeping in touch remotely all the while.

Lottie organised the walk after learning that Ray, a retired chartered quantity surveyor who founded Hall and Partners construction and project management consultancy in Newcastle and a former chairman of Age Concern Newcastle, was diagnosed with pancreatic cancer in September last year. He had to explain to his grandchildren that his cancer had been diagnosed too late to be cured.

Lottie, who shares her birthday on October 22 with her grandad, decided that she would organise a fund-raising walk to raise money for the medical research charity, Pancreatic Cancer Research Fund.

She will complete the walk in one go with her family in a field attached to their house, and Ray will complete the walk in stages in his garden with his wife Judy, a former consultant radiologist at Newcastle hospitals.

The inspiration for the fund-raiser came from Lottie choosing pancreatic cancer as the topic of a biology project she had to complete at school. She researched the disease and interviewed her grandad so that she could understand more about his illness – and went on to win a school prize for her work.

Lottie said: “Grandpa is an amazing person and he’s being so brave and positive. We’re all very proud of him.

"When I was doing my research, I found out that there is no test that can diagnose pancreatic cancer early, and if there was, it would have given Grandpa a chance of being cured.

"Then I discovered that an early detection test was being developed by Pancreatic Cancer Research Fund. That’s when I decided to raise money to help them because a test will make a big difference in helping other people in the future.”

Lottie and Ray will be joined on the walk by friends and family, both locally and around the world. These include Ray’s friends from Hexham Golf Club, plus friends and family in London, Spain, Dubai and Australia.

Ray said: “I’m very proud of Lottie for thinking this up herself and organising it all. These are difficult times for everyone, and it’s given us something positive to do together.

"It’s been really uplifting to see the generosity and kind messages on the JustGiving page and to know that there are so many people joining in not just here, but all over the world. I just hope the weather is kind to us on Sunday as two miles will be a big challenge for me.”

Lottie’s mother, Nikki, added: “Lottie and dad have always had a special connection. She’s a very thoughtful granddaughter and she knows that this fund-raiser is not just raising money for research into this devastating disease, it is also helping her Grandma and Grandpa to feel connected to us during this lockdown period.”

Lottie originally hoped to raise £200 through the walk but has smashed that fund-raising target.

The fund sat at close to £1,800 at the time of going to print.

People can donate to the cause by visiting