Bob Champion to mark 40 years since beating cancer and Aldaniti’s win

Aintree legend Bob Champion will embark on a walk of nearly 200 miles to mark the 40th anniversary of him beating cancer and winning the Grand National.

The former jump jockey, who took the 1981 renewal on Aldaniti while recovering from the disease, begins the fundraiser next month.

For his charity the Bob Champion Cancer Trust, the 72-year-old will leave Aintree Racecourse on April 11, a day after this year’s big race is run.

He plans to cover 191 miles, which represents the number of days from his diagnosis on July 24 1979, his months of gruelling treatment to then receiving the all clear January 31 1980 – and going on to Aintree glory the following year.

Champion said: “My story 40 years ago gave hope to people around the world fighting cancer.

Bob Champion and Aldaniti

“I have dedicated my life to the cause and hope that people will support me again on this anniversary walk for the good work my Trust does on a daily basis.”

It will not be a linear route, but there will be 40 memorable stops, all connected to his remarkable life story.

They include trainer’s yards such as Tom Dascombe, Dan Skelton and Jonjo O’Neill and places of interest such as Barkfold Manor, where Aldaniti lived in retirement and is buried.

Bob Champion

At each place, Bob will walk up and down the gallops, or in a circuit and well-known people will join him along the way.

The #Bobs40For40Challenge, sponsored by the Wasdell Group, finishes at Findon, the place where Aldanti was trained and the Gifford family carry on the family legacy.

Wasdell Group chairman Martin Tedham, whose horse Sky Pirate won at this year’s Cheltenham Festival, said: “Bob Champion’s story of surviving cancer and the amazing contribution he has since made towards funding research into the disease is legendary.

“I sadly lost my wife Carol to cancer three years ago, and of course Jonjo (O’Neill) has also had to deal with cancer in the past, so it’s an absolute privilege to support Bob in such a worthy endeavour.”

Tedham also sponsors Jonjo O’Neill’s yard, where he has several horses in training.

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