Roy Clements at a roadside shrine on the Camino de Santiago. He covered almost 800 kilometres.

‘Crusade’ for Langley Hospice conquers Spain

Roy Clements has crossed two countries for hospice.

It wasn’t an auspicious start to a 39-day walk of almost 800 kilometres across Spain.

Langley’s Roy Clements arrived in Spain, ready to complete his fundraising walk of the Camino de Santiago, an ancient pilgrimage route.

His luggage didn’t.

The day before he began his walk in honour of the Langley Hospice Society, Clements was busy buying new boots, walking poles, even underwear.

The early part of the walk had any number of setbacks.

“The first day was one of the toughest days,” said Clements. There was a lot of climbing early on, as the pilgrimage route begins in the Pyrenees mountains.

Clements also fell and pulled a ligament in one shoulder, and his companion for the trip, Rose Farrow, got pneumonia and had to leave after the first two weeks.

Despite all of that, Clements continued, walking between nine and 32 kilometres per day.

“When I look back on it, I’m so happy that I did it,” Clements said.

His walk was the latest in a series of long hikes he has made to help out the Langley Hospice Society.

Clemo’s Crusade for Hospice is the fundraising efforts of Clements, his family, and friends.

So far he’s raised $12,000, with his walk in Spain the capping effort.

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It’s all in honour of Clements’ late wife Doreen.

Married in 1963 in their native Britain, they raised three daughters together and moved to Canada.

Doreen survived cancer in the 1990s, but she was diagnosed with a new lung cancer in 2012. She passed away in 2014.

During her last days, Doreen received physical care from Langley Hospice, while the rest of the family got emotional support.

After that very difficult time, Clements called Langley Hospice Society “my saving grace.”

Which led him first to walk across England, and then to Spain.

“I had more challenging days than easy days,” he said of the long walk.

The first stage headed through mountains, and from there he walked through plains – miles of wheat and barley. After that the Catalan mountains meant more climbing, up to 5,000 feet.

He was struck by the many religious icons and personal shrines to loved ones built along the iconic trail.

Clements also had a lot of good times – he met people from all over Europe, the United States, Australia, and Canada.

He spent time walking with others, and time walking alone with just his thoughts.

Ultimately, he was glad to go on the adventure and help out Langley Hospice.

“I’m 78, I’m not going to do it again,” said Clements.

Now he’s back home, getting ready for some physiotherapy on that injured shoulder, and speaking to people on behalf of the society.

Despite all the challenges, it was worth it. And the former marathon runner held up pretty well, even with brand-new boots.

“Never got a blister once,” he said.

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