Grandad Jim doing Camino Frances trek for Our Lady’s

By Aideen O'Flaherty

A GRANDFATHER, who is nearly half way through the 800km Camino Frances trek from St Jean Pied de Port in France to Santiago de Compostela in Spain, is hoping to raise funds for Our Lady’s Children’s Hospital in Crumlin after they carried out successful heart surgery on his granddaughter when she was just six-weeks-old.

Jim Yates (70), who is originally from Newcastle in England and now lives in Old Bawn in Tallaght, had decided that when he turned 70 he wanted to take on a challenge – and make a difference while doing so.

Jim Yates on the Camino Frances

Jim Yates from Old Bawn with his friend Ron

Jim’s granddaughter Rebecca underwent heart surgery in Our Lady’s Children’s Hospital ten years ago, when she was just six-weeks-old, so choosing to fundraise for the hospital while undertaking the lengthy walk was a clear choice for the avid writer.

Jim told The Echo: “When I turned 70 I wanted to challenge myself and I wanted to walk 800km, but I didn’t want it to be for nothing.

“The children’s hospital in Crumlin is a special place, and now it means I’m doing it for a good reason – not just a selfish one.”

Jim trained for nine months in advance of taking on the Camino Frances, which is also known as the French Way.

Features of the popular walking route include, the Pyrenees Mountain Range, vineyards in La Rioja and a host of towns and villages.

Speaking to The Echo by phone while walking through the Spanish city of Burgos, Jim said: “It’s going very well, the weather has been perfect.

Hard slog

“It’s a hard slog in the day, but I’m enjoying it.

“Getting across the Pyrenees was some achievement, because it was very difficult.”

Jim, who has three children and seven grandchildren, started his trek on April 26 and expects to complete the trek by June 2.

Explaining how his family reacted to his decision to take on the trek, Jim said: “They were surprised when I told them, but they’re all behind me.

“They know that once I put my mind to something I’ll do it.”

You can donate to Jim’s fundraising on CMRF Crumlin’s website,

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