Friends and colleagues show their support for former Wakefield prison dog handler Paul Bailey by walking 73 miles

Friends and colleagues of Paul Bailey, a former Wakefield Prison dog handler diagnosed with cancer, walked 73 miles last weekend in freezing weather to show their support for him and his family.

By Julie Marshall
Wednesday, 19th January 2022, 5:34 pm
Updated Wednesday, 19th January 2022, 5:36 pm

The 13-strong team walked non-stop from Bridlington to HMP Wakefield, setting out at 8.30pm on Friday and arriving at 3.30am on Sunday.

Later that morning they were met at the prison by Paul, 200 friends and family members and a guard of honour from the dog section where Paul worked.

Paul’s long-time friend Jonathan Rowland said: “In 2021, Paul, who is married to Kelly with 12-year-old twins, was diagnosed with stage four non-Hodgkins lymphatic cancer.

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The team walked for 73 miles non stop from Bridlington to Wakefield

“He underwent months of extremely intensive treatment which looked to be working and he was given the ‘all clear’ in late 2021.

“Unfortunately the cancer had only shrunk and it was so aggressive that within a few weeks he was told that it had grown in a number of locations around his body and there was nothing more they could do for him.

“We decided to do something to show him how much we cared.”

Jonathan said the walk had been very challenging with freezing fog reducing visibility to a few metres.

He said: “We had to jump out of the way of oncoming traffic and it was quite dangerous. We are all reasonably fit but we hadn’t done any training, and sleep depravation and fatigue caused us to hallucinate at times.”

So far, around £8,500 has been raised for Paul with more still to come in.

Paul said: “I am amazed at how many people have showed support since I’ve been sick.

“When the chips are down, real friends step up”.