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Rippingale man to 'March the Month' for Prostate Cancer UK

The fact that charities are having a tough time raising money at the moment is not lost on Ian Misselbrook.

Like most of us, he has not attended coffee mornings, fêtes or similar fundraisers in the past year because of the pandemic’s restrictions.

But not one to sit about, Ian, 65, has decided to turn his love for rambles into an opportunity to support a good cause.

Ian Misselbrook
Ian Misselbrook

“I’m taking part in the March the Month event for Prostate Cancer UK,” explained Ian, who lives in Rippingale.

“A couple of my friends have been diagnosed with prostate cancer, and another who had been diagnosed unfortunately died recently.

“Some charities would normally hold sponsored walks in the Peak District and other places around the UK, but this can’t happen because of the lockdown.

A brown hare photographed by Ian
A brown hare photographed by Ian

“March the Month can be done anywhere, and involves walking 11,000 steps a day throughout the month of March.”

According to the charity, more than 11,000 men die from prostate cancer every year, and so the daily total of steps represents each of them.

By undertaking the challenge, people can not only raise money, but improve their health by taking regular exercise in the fresh air.

Ian, whose love of the natural world began before he had even started school, said: “I’m looking forward to seeing a succession of flowers during March, from the snowdrops which are out now, to primroses and crocuses, before the bluebells come out a little later in the spring.

A stonechat photographed by Ian
A stonechat photographed by Ian

“Towards the end of March I’ll be looking for the first spring migrants appearing in our skies. Sand martins, which are part of the swallow family, should be first, and there may be wheatears passing through, and chiffchaffs. The lovely thing about them is, when they sing, it feels like the opening bars of spring.”

Always keen to inspire others to take more interest in the countryside, Ian, who advises on farming and planting schemes for grain and grasses, began a website, www.countryeye.org.uk, 16 years ago, which he updates quarterly with seasonal nature notes and photos. It attracts visitors from all over the world who are fascinated by the different birds and other wildlife that he spots and photographs around his home village, which benefits from having sweeping fenland to the east, a limestone ridge to the west, as well as Temple Wood nearby.

Some of those who have sponsored Ian on the March the Month challenge have done so because they visit his website.

Ian plans to post some of his wildlife observations on his donations page which can be found here.

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