Unlikely Banbury adventurer to walk the Thames

Simon Osborn will be walking the Thames to raise money and awareness for Epilepsy UK NNL-170324-111454001
Simon Osborn will be walking the Thames to raise money and awareness for Epilepsy UK NNL-170324-111454001

A Banbury man will be walking the entire length of the River Thames next month to raise money and awareness for Epilepsy UK.

Simon Osborn started raising money for the charity after his friend’s son was born with severe epilepsy.

In in a strange twist of fate, in 2015 Simon too was diagnosed with the condition, giving his resolve to raise awareness and money an even more personal perspective.

Simon, a special projects team leader at Tibbetts, is no stranger to fundraising adventures, having completed two sky dives despite his diagnosis.

Simon said: “It was a bit daft and a bit reckless but it was a good year and they say if you get over the first year you’re generally going to be OK.”

He added: “I sometimes have the odd aura, sort of strange smells and get a salty taste in my mouth.”

Simon, however, is pressing on and his next challenge, starting on April 3, will see him walk the 184 miles from the Thames’ underground source in Cirencester to the flood barriers in London.

One of the main triggers for Simon’s epilepsy is extreme tiredness, so the 12-day walk poses some genuine risks.

Simon said: “Last year I was sat about, scared to do anything because they were saying to me ‘don’t get tired’. Well how tired is too tired?

“I got to a point where I wasn’t doing anything and I’ve gone from being relatively active to doing nothing. I was ballooning in weight and the medication makes your joints ache.

“I got to a point where I thought I had do something because what’s the worst that can happen? I have another seizure and it sets me back a bit.”

Simon plans to do the majority of the walk solo and his sleeping arrangements are already in place.

Simon said: “I thought about doing it Bear Grylls-style but I’m more mixed grill than Bear Grylls so I have rooms booked along the way.”

The first leg of the walk will be the longest due to the remoteness of the location and will cover 23 miles with subsequent days averaging between 10 and 19 miles.

Since Simon began fundraising for the charity he has raised an enormous amount of cash and his hard work will be recognised at a formal event next month.

Simon said: “I’ve raised just shy of £10,000 and I got an invited to the Royal Society in London for a presentation for sponsorship raised so I have that next month to look forward to.”

Despite his own diagnosis of epilepsy Simon’s driving force behind his fundraising efforts remains his close friend’s son.

He said: “He still has seizures but he wakes up with a big beaming smile and the doctors are saying ‘why are you smiling you should be barely able to open your eyes.’

“He’s only a toddler and if he can crack on then there is hope for me. He’s still my inspiration now, bless him.”

To sponsor Simon visit his Virgin Giving page.