Grand gesture from Craig for Blackpool Victoria Hospital

Craig Holland will descend 3,100ft down the Grand Canyon
Craig Holland will descend 3,100ft down the Grand Canyon

A loving son will fulfil a lifelong wish – and raise money for Blackpool Victoria Hospital’s charity at the same time.

Craig Holland, 53, will descend over 3,100 feet in the world famous Grand Canyon in Arizona on a trek for Blue Skies Hospital Fund.

Having seen dementia-friendly areas such as the Memory Corridor at Blackpool Victoria Hospital, and the sensory garden at Clifton Hospital [in Lytham], I’m looking forward to being able to raise money, knowing how much it means to patients and families

The technical manager as Glasdon will even fund the trip himself, to maximise his donation as a thank you for the care medics gave to his dad John Holland, who died last January aged 79, after suffering from vascular dementia.

He said: “Having seen the promotional information on the company’s intranet, it reignited a wish to visit the Grand Canyon and because of the care, knowledge and attention all the staff gave to both dad and my family, I decided I should fulfil a dream with the opportunity to give something back to the hospital.”

Craig, from Blackpool, has started training in preparation for September’s trek, which will see him walk 10 to 15 minutes a day, by walking up the steepest hills he can find.

Once he gets to the United States, he will follow an ancient trail that will lead him into the Havasupai Indian Reservation.

“Having not walked seriously since completing the Pennine Way back in my school days, I have had to buy all new gear and I need to find some organised walks to help me breaking this gear in, and at the same time build up my stamina before the trek,” Craig added.

“Having seen dementia-friendly areas such as the Memory Corridor at Blackpool Victoria Hospital, and the sensory garden at Clifton Hospital [in Lytham], I’m looking forward to being able to raise money, knowing how much it means to patients and families.”

The 72-metre corridor, funded by Blue Skies and thought to be the largest in the UK, is split into seven sections, with each featuring a large scenic photo. Fitting smells and sounds are pumped into each section, with the aim of helping dementia patients to trigger memories to help calm them down.

They include a park, sports arena, the Pleasure Beach, the Prom, the Grand Theatre, the Tower Circus, and a workplace.

Clifton’s sensory garden includes a potting area where patients can help plant seeds, and smelling plants such as lavender and mint, which is also aimed at calming patients down.