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FPC’s Managing Partner, Moira O’Shaughnessy, together with her husband Mark, recently embarked on a very important adventure along the Camino Way in Northern Spain, to “celebrate” her 60th birthday and in memory of her brother Kevin who she sadly lost to suicide in 2002. Their aim was to raise £6,000 for two special organisations she became aware of through Merseyside Women of the Year (MWOTY) – Sean’s Place and Alfie’s squad:

– Sean’s Place in Bootle, where Moira was born and bred, supports men struggling with their mental health and who might be at risk of taking their own life.

– Alfie’s Squad which was set up by a young Alfie Fitzsimmons to support children who have lost a parent to suicide.

Both these charities were founded by former MWOTY winners – Debbie Rogers (Sean’s Place) and Allison Furlong (Alfie’s Squad).

Moira’s determination and dedication to supporting both organisations led her to successfully raise over £14,000 and counting… they hope to ultimately more than triple their target once gift aid is included.

Read on to discover how Moira and Mark’s journey went:


After receiving an early birthday lunch/farewell from the rest of FPC, I was off to Gatwick ready to fly to Spain to take on our Camino Challenge – the adventure had begun!

Our main aim is to not get injured or lost so we’ve every GPS app invented on our phones, back up batteries and I have sturdy walking poles at the ready! You’d think we were taking on Everest!

Day 1  : San Sebastián to Zarautz: 36152 steps and 24.2 km

At the end of day one I was aching from my shoulders to my toes. It was so muddy, we had to be really careful but my poles were a godsend as was this pilgrim spot where we were offered a cuppa and a loo.

Our practice runs on Rivington Pike, Parbold and in the Lakes paid off but with rainwater running over cobbles, mud and leaves our hoped-for 6 hours turned into nearly 8.

It was all made worthwhile though as we got a message from our daughters to say we had smashed through £8000 on our JustGiving page!

The long sandy beach at Zarautz was a welcome sight even though it was freezing so we didn’t hang around long. Big one tomorrow – hoping we won’t spend the whole time having to look at our feet.

Day 2  Zarautz to Deba ( via Getaria) 40840 steps and 27 km

Early start up and out of Zarautz, cobbles all the way!

Beautiful, but wet walk though along the coast to Getaria and then up into the hills. Surrounded by eucalyptus, pines and vines and each climb gave up a glorious view. Plenty of signs as usual so no maps needed again.

Day 3: Deba to Markina- Xemein  41837 steps and 26.6 km

Woke up to no hot water so that definitely freshened us up and then off we went bracing ourselves for a tough day.

“You wanted a challenge,” says my older brother Bernard, and indeed today was! Eight hours up and down the steepest of ascents, some on tarmac, which is weirdly worse, others on rocky paths where you are just concentrating on not falling so, oddly, you’re distracted from the steepness of the climb.

But what views – absolutely stunning – felt more like Switzerland than Spain and the only sounds were birdsong and the sounds of bells around the necks of sheep and donkeys. Lunch was in little stable and again not a soul around so good job we’d taken a butty.

Having finally reached the town down a two-hour descent we then discovered our hotel was another 40 mins on. We struggled to find it but an old lady took pity on us and got her OAP hubby to give us a lift. I hugged her and cried with relief – I didn’t have another step in me!

Really beautiful walk today though with amazing views. Lots of time to think too especially about my brother Kevin and how much he would have loved this. All of the support we’re getting is because of him of course, as both groups we are fund raising for support men like Kevin or their families like us.

Knees and feet on fire tonight!

Day 4 Markina – Xemein to Gernika-Lumo  48268 steps and 32 km  

Fortified by a good meal and sleep we were up and on the trail handy – when we eventually found it.  Feeling good after surviving yesterday but we didn’t realise what we had in store.

It was beautiful but brutal, it took us 9 hours and was hard work. Rocky paths and mud but lovely weather at last and the shorts are out for Mr O.

I’ve gone from an average 2,500 steps a day (at home) to nearly 40,000 so the knees and hips are screaming, but we keep saying to ourselves that it’s just one foot in front of the other!

A struggle again to find both our hotel for the night and for food as Gernika was pretty much shut – so it was a sandwich from a takeaway kebab shop for tea.

Day 5: Gernika to Lezama  36774 steps and 24.8km

A couple of very pretty yet again deserted villages along the way; again no one in sight but every climb was rewarded with a view and we seemed to following babbling streams all the way.

Such lush countryside it would be stunning when the vines are in full bloom.

The day ended on a high as reinforcements arrived as our younger daughter Ellie joins us for the final stint to Bilbao!

Let’s go!

Day 6: 27870 steps and 18.5 km

Not as long a day and with just a few ascents that Ellie skipped up – but it was worth it for the view of Bilbao from the top.

I wore my FPC Camino top and Sean’s Place Hoodie today and I got quite emotional when we filmed our thank you message realising what we had achieved. We’d made it!


If you’d like to contribute to Moira’s mission, click here.