Margate grandad’s 500-mile walk challenge to support younger sister and raise funds for MND research

Mark Knowlton will carry out the challenge throughout July

A Margate grandad-of-three will take on a 500 mile walk challenge next month to raise funds for Motor Neurone Disease (MND) research and support his sister.

Mark Knowlton and Jo Knowlton discovered their sibling bond 15 years ago through genealogical research, learning they shared the same father. Their dad, who married several times, has since passed away.

Jo, who lives in Dundee, was diagnosed with MND three years ago at the age of 29. With a promising career as a forensic artist ahead of her, Jo’s life took a drastic turn as the disease progressively impaired her ability to perform everyday tasks, ultimately affecting her mobility, speech, and even breathing.

Determined to make a difference, Mark, 60, will walk the equivalent distance from Margate to Dundee by repeatedly traversing the Viking Coastal Trail, a 32-mile circular trek. This journey is Mark’s way of showing his unwavering support for Jo and contributing to the MND Association’s efforts to find a cure.

The dad-of-two, who works as a management consultant, and loves travelling through Spain with wife Linda in their motor home, said: “The sense of helplessness you feel seeing loved ones deteriorate slowly and painfully with this horrific disease is just heart-breaking.

“But there is hope. The MND Association funds and promotes research that leads to new understanding and treatments and brings us closer to a cure for MND.

“MND Scotland is the only Scottish charity providing care and support to people affected by Motor Neuron Disease (MND), as well as funding research to take us a step closer to a cure.

“We want a world without Motor Neuron Disease, so I’m fundraising because I want to help find a cure for this devastating disease.

“Sponsoring me will also help MND Scotland to provide practical, financial, and emotional support to people affected by MND.”

Mark’s challenge starts on July 1 and he will continue through to July 31. He is inviting people to join him, whether by walking part of the Viking Coastal Trail with him or by making a donation.

Mark is also seeking corporate sponsors prepared to support the charity or the challenge.

To find the fundraising page click here

About MND

With Motor Neurone Disease messages from the motor neurones gradually stop reaching the muscles. This leads the muscles to weaken, stiffen and waste, which can affect how you walk, talk, eat, drink and breathe. Some people also get changes to their thinking and behaviour, but the disease affects everyone differently. Not all symptoms will affect everyone, or in the same order. Symptoms also progress at varying speeds, which makes the course of the disease difficult to predict.

MND is life-shortening and there is no cure. Although the disease will progress, symptoms can be managed to help achieve the best possible quality of life.

Treatments include physiotherapy, speech therapy and medicines.

MND affects up to 5,000 adults in the UK at any one time. There is a 1 in 300 risk of getting MND across a lifetime. It can affect adults of any age, but normally affects people over 50.

Find information and support at:


  1. Fantastic effort!
    Can Mark give some sort of indication as to which way round the Viking Trail he plans to go, and St what times and locations people might join in?

    • Hello Phyllis’s and firstly thank you so much for your donations and support .

      I generally plan to walk clock wise – as I need to complete an average of 16 miles a day , I will probably have a mix of full 32 mile days (and a rest day ) along with 16 mile days . It’s hard to say when I will be passing a particular spot , but will be easy to spot with my flag .
      Thanks again x

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