One man’s coastal mission

Melitta, Georgie, Nic and Laurence at Bryce Canyon in April 2015
Melitta, Georgie, Nic and Laurence at Bryce Canyon in April 2015
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Freckleton, Lytham, Knott End and Fleetwood were among the towns being visited by a man walking 3,500 miles around the coast of England and Wales in memory of his wife.

Laurence Carter decided to undertake the incredible feat to highlight the importance of cervical screening and HPV vaccinations, and – working with Cancer Research UK – aims to raise funds for research into why women don’t attend smear test appointments.

His wife Melitta, the mother of his three children, died of cervical cancer at the age of 53, in 2015.

Laurence, who is taking time off from his job as a director at the World Bank, said: “Just over 30 years ago I walked into a room in the Ministry of Agriculture in Malawi. I had come to collect some agricultural data. I opened the door and there was a young woman, with dark curly hair, a bright yellow dress and a beautiful smile. She gave me the data, but soon our conversation turned to tennis. That weekend we hiked a mountain in Malawi, and two years later we were married.”

In 2012, Melitta broke the news her smear test had picked up the fact she had cancer and needed an emergency hysterectomy. After surgery, chemotherapy and radiation, she was given just 12 to 18 months to live.

Laurence said: “She died two years later, surrounded by her family. That morning she smiled for the last time. Inspired by my wife, and the mother of our children, I wanted to do something which would honour Melitta’s values of making a difference.

He started near Brighton and walked through the Fylde coast on Thursday and Friday.

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