Steve Neary’s 67-day charity challenge to celebrate his 67th birthday

To mark his 67th birthday, Steve Neary is doing a 67-day challenge to raise money for Pendleside Hospice, which covers the Burnley and Pendle areas. All activities will revolve around numbers 6,7 and 67. He is doing physical challenges, volunteering his time and donating foodstuffs.

The multi-challenge started on October 13 and ends on December 18.

There is also a bumper raffle with the prize of a hamper containing, yes you guessed,  67 prizes to be drawn at the hospice on December 21.

Prizes include an amazing £500 cash prize, overnight stays and gym memberships. One winner will scoop the lot.

Please follow Steve’s JustGiving page for regular updates as to what he’s doing each day https://­www.­justgiving.­com/­fundraising/­steve-neary67.

Steve’s Diary

Day One 67 climbs up and down my stairs, burning thighs but job done in 25 minutes.

Day 2 Litter picking in Read for 6 hours covering 10 miles. First stint 4hrs and then 2hrs. Yesterday the legs took a bashing, today it was the arms. Practically, every pick was a discarded beer, wine or spirit bottle.

Day 3 67 inclined press ups, after yesterday’s challenge, 50 upwards was a hell of a burn.

Day 4 The 7 ‘gates’ of Burnley and Pendle done on our bicycles, with my cousin Ian Neary, a big thank you to the lady at Finsley Gate and Bill and Margaret at Fence Gate for each donating £10, I managed to blag a free coffee from The Fence Gate restaurant.

Day 5 Volunteered with Pendle Hill Landscapes. Cutting back overgrown hedgerows on footpaths and removing invasive shrubs and plants from the landscape in Downham. Was it wet? Yes very.

Day 6 Start and finish of the 6000m row on gym rowing machine. Big thank you to Julie Barrow at Powerfit Simonstone.

Day 7 Volunteering my time at HAPPA (Horse and Pony Protection Association) at Briercliffe.

Armed with a jet wash, 6hrs and 45 mins later, the stable floor is all spic and span.

Day 8 Picking up and delivering 67 food stuffs to the Burnley FC community food kitchen. Thank you to M&S, Burnley, for their kind donations.

Day 9 Volunteering working outside with Ribble Rivers Trust creating a micro tree nursery, improving the environment and creating a better well-being in the local community. Recycling pallets into planters too. Some hard graft at times but rewarding.

Day 10 Today’s exercise – 67 each of the following: jumping jacks, squats, butterfly kicks and mountain climbers.

Day 11 6 laps of the Higher Trapp estate, 14 miles done..

Day 12 Boxing the heavy bag for 6 mins. My day is my own now.

Day 13 Volunteering at Padiham Football Club clearing the leaves and overgrown bushes around the terracing and car park.

Day 14 Cycling 67 times up and down Straits Lane. This was brutal but very satisfying. Actual mileage should be 42.21, strava went auto stop, and I’m not giving up that 0.58 miles. Thank you for all the encouragement throughout the day, ranging from small applause to van drivers shouting ‘keep going lad!’

Day 15 Brief 7k warm down compared to yesterday’s gruelling 42 miles. I caught the rain, it had to happen eventually. Some nice countryside even in the wet.

Day 16 Cycle to 7 parks. Padiham’s Memorial Park, Burnley’s Scott, Thompson, Queens, and Towneley, Nelson’s Marsden where I pit stopped for a coffee and a cake, then Victoria and a bridge stop to see a magnificent heron. I set off for one challenge, but the wind certainly provided another.

Day 17 I was looking for a 7k hike but ended with 8.5, a nice contrast to yesterday’s 7 parks cycling adventure.

Day 18 Was going to be 6 x 67 second planks. But I was encouraged to go for 6 straight mins, so with that positive vibe I gave it a go. At 5mins 30 secs the phone rang and it fell over, because of the 10 seconds to pick it off the floor I did another minute.

Day 19  7 more miles in aid of Pendleside Hospice – it was a wet one, but worthwhile.  

Day 20 Volunteering to give blood is one of the best things I’ve ever done. As this was my 60th pint, this fit perfectly in with my challenge, six being the optimum number, and helping others.

Day 21 Weather was kind, only one brief soaking, litter picking to the top of Portfield Lane at Portfield Bar and part of Read. Can’t believe what some folks dump. Rattled up another 10.5 miles.

Day 22 Volunteering with Ribble Rivers Trust. Ten years ago over 800 new trees were planted on this site. Our task for the day was to remove the sleeves from the trunks. Sodden underfoot in places, was like standing in a river.

Day 23 Alarm set for 2.30am for a 3.30am start, to deliver daily doorstep pintas. Well, I smashed it, literally, tripping in the dark losing two pints of silver top, couldn’t avoid a milk shower and an hour later I’m smelling like a ripe Stilton. Big thanks to Barrowford milkman Phil Sanderson for allowing me on the back of a milk float for the first time since I was 12. Lots of jogging!

Day 24 6 hours clearing the leaves from Read churchyard. The grass can breath now. I was joined today by Alan Nutter who is a regular volunteer in the churchyard.

Day 25 Volunteering with Martholme Greenway Project just off Simonstone Lane, clearing hawthorn to make room for the planting of native fruit trees. Also had the company of two birds of prey.

Day 26 More leaves in the churchyard. Still lots to do there, but that’s for another day.

Day 27 Full on day with Whalley Woof­tas­tic­walks. All the pooches really enjoyed a runaround, and had lots to say for themselves. Thankfully, I survived without being given the runaround or nibbled!

Day 28 My second visit to HAPPA. First task, jet wash the isolation unit, this is where new horses are kept on arrival for examination to see how healthy they are. Second task to remove moss and weeds from the car park area.

Day 29 Second session at Whalley Wooftastic Walks. Just under 6 hours in the company of several amazing eclectic canines, full of energy, attitude and cheek. At times it was like being pulled by huskies. Covering 8 miles surrounding Chatburn, Sabden, Churn Clough Res, the streets of Read and Simonstone and Hagg Wood Ightenhill. We even rescued a sheep stuck on a slope in Hagg Wood snared by overgrown bramble.

Day 30 What should have been another 7 miles for Pendleside Hospice turned into 8. Not quite reached half way yet, but enthusiasm and determination is still driving me on, and of course your support, which up to now has been quite overwhelming.

Day 31 A second stint with The Ribble Rivers Trust, at The Whins tree plantation, removing the sleeves, it rained for practically the whole duration, but lots of progress.

Day 32 67-mile cycle on the Leeds Liverpool Canal, from the Leeds Basin (Granary Wharf).  With son Jordan Neary and cousin Ian Neary. We averaged about 10 miles an hour. Five-mile quagmire between Gargrave and Barnoldswick tested our resolve, as did the constant head wind for 90% of the journey.

Day 33 After yesterday a quiet, brief, yet leggy 6 kilometres. In old money another 3.75 miles.

Day 34 Armed with garden fork helped replace and mend hundreds of divots at Padiham FC.

Day 35 Back in the saddle, circum­navi­gating both villages of Read and Simonstone 7 times. There’s a hill at either end so no respite.

Day 36 Volunteering with Pendle Hill Landscapes, more graft but good weather. Started with planting native meadow flowers, some of which have been reduced by up to 90% over the years. This will encourage pollinators. Then off up the hill to dig out the stones and silt blocking the water buffs on the pathways.

Day 37 Donation day. A visit to Meadow Lodge residential home in Padiham. Everyone loves a biscuit with a cuppa, so today I donated 6 tins of the finest Farmhouse biscuits.

Day 38 7 more miles in aid of Pendleside Hospice. A nice morning red sky to kick off with and great weather to follow.

Day 39 This one is 7+7 I decided I needed to up my game, so I clumped together the 7 gates of Burnley and 7 parks cycle challenges. Light winds said the weather forecast. Not a chance! Coffee and cake stop at the Marsden Park cafe, resulted in me being given my 67th raffle prize – afternoon tea for two.

Day 40 After almost 37 miles in the saddle yesterday a soothing 6k hike today. Beautiful scenery and lunch at the Barley Mow in Barley who have kindly donated an overnight stay as a prize for the bumper raffle.

Day 41 67 squat jumps. I was nearly crying at 40 and thought my quads would burst at 50, and then Bambi’s legs arrived at 67. Short sharp and brutal, but I couldn’t give up.

Day 42 Back at HAPPA armed with a jet wash for 6 hours, and I’m aching from my ears down to my toes. Today’s challenge was to clean the outside stables area.

Day 43 Another 6 miles today for Pendleside and it was good to bump into my old Department of Works and Pensions mucker Vicky Flint half way round, and Julia Hartley on an early morning run.

Day 44 67-minute stint on a rowing machine. If I was under any illusion that this challenge is getting easier, today brought me back down to earth, my arms are dropping off.

Day 45 part one. First of two challenges, litter picking with Ribble Rivers Trust by the River Calder. It’s amazing what high water leaves behind. Job well done though.

Day 45 part two. What a night at George & Dragon, Barrowford. Thank you to Baz The Friday Night Man for inviting me to DJ. After a quiet start and despite the blizzard the locals came out in force and packed the pub to raise money for Pendleside.

Day 46 After driving nearly 150 miles doing dad duties for both Ellis in Manchester and India in Fleetwood. I hiked 6k but the phone died, spectacular scenery despite hurricane winds made the challenge worthwhile.

Day 47 A 7 miler. Despite the adverse conditions the show must go on. Stunning countryside enhanced by the snowfall.

Day 48 6 different exercises x 30 reps each, an easier task today but some biggies to come.

Day 49 Another return to HAPPA as a guest at their annual awards, to recognise volunteers and supporters of the charity, without whom they would struggle to exist. Then off to Lancaster to pick up prizes for my raffle. And finally, a 67-minute cycle. It was my first challenge at night and was a tad wet.

Day 50 Another donation day. 7 mini Christmas cakes together with 6 of the best mince pies ever, for 7 lucky winners. I presented these via a raffle, drawn by the Higher Trapp staff at the Read and Simonstone pensioners’ Christmas party.

Day 51 Cycled to 7 Halls, Great Mitton, Mitton, Martholme, Read, Huntroyde, Towneley and Gawthorpe. Thank you to the owners of Read and Huntroyde Halls for allowing me on to their properties, and permission to post a photo. Please note that both are private residences and have no public right of way to either building.

Day 52 Tree planting with Colne Youth Action Group. 420 saplings in the ground to help the environment.

Day 53 Climbed the infamous St James’ Park steps to the ‘Gods’ 6 times.

Day 54 Spent with Pendle Hill Landscapes clearing overgrown willow and bramble from pathways by Ogden Reservoir. You couldn’t see the wooden bridge prior to the work.

Day 55 6 climbs up Pendle Hill steps. The first climb was in a snow blizzard, climbs 2 and 3 rain and hailstone and then the weather was kinder. Bottom 3rd ok, middle 3rd dicey and the top 3rd treacherous, especially coming down.

Day 56 Made spinach soup with creme fresh for 67. Thank you to Warburtons bakery for donating the rolls and soft pitas. Also received 67 donated mince pies.

Day 57 Served the soup with bread rolls and mince pies to the homeless of Burnley, in conjunction with Father Mick and the Church On The Street, from the boot of my car.

Day 58 Volunteering at HAPPA. 6 hours of painting the shop stairwell walls up to the first floor.

Day 59 Walking the canines with Whalle­yWo­of­tastics. I’ve enjoyed and learned so much through my volunteering with all the different groups, and the full on dedication is there to see in all its glory.

Day 60 Invigorating 67k bike ride (41.6 miles). Very satisfying and only seven more to go.

Day 61 Another 7 miles for Pendleside. The last time I went on a pre-match hike, Burnley won at Anfield. Might have to rely on Devine intervention against West Ham today.

Day 62 Visit to Church On The Street, not a challenge but it had to be done, this afternoon I wore my raffle hat, and tonight should have been a 67 min bike ride but straight away I had a puncture, so quick change of plan to hike 6k. Plenty of rain but warm.

Day 63 Solitary confinement as I’m held ‘hostage’ at Ewood Park the home of Blackburn Rovers (Arghhh!) To bail me out, or to keep me in, depending on your persuasion, donations to help Pendleside most welcome. While ‘locked up’ walked 6000 steps in a space approx 10 x 8!

Day 64 Hiking to 6 trig points, Weets in the dark, then to Stang Top, Pendle Hill, Haggins Head, Black Hill and Wiswell Moor. Relentless and not easy underfoot, 16 miles of wet, muddy and slippy took its toll.

Day 65 6-hour bike ride in the gym cut short to 4 hours after injuring my right knee –  it had to happen eventually!

Day 66 Delivering selection boxes supplied by ASDA to vulnerable children through charity associated with Calico

Day 67 Haunting overnight stay at Salmesbury Hall, looking to bump into Dorothy Southworth, the mysterious ghostly White Lady, who has apparently been searching for her husband to be since the 1600s. Now to celebrate!