Farmer Charlie Magill, pictured, is about to step out on an epic journey that will see him walk 364 miles from Tragumna Bay, on the coast of County Cork, to Glenarm, County Antrim.
The 52-year-old Glenarm farmer is planning to begin his Ireland-long trek on July 23, and plans to walk a ‘marathon a day’ over 14 days, finishing on the east Antrim coast on August 5, all in a bid to raise awareness of the pain and challenges around parental alienation, while at the same time raising funds for two mental health charities, Turning Point NI and La Dolce Vita.
Both charities are renowned for providing help and support to those whose who face strug-gles when family relationships break down, and to those who experience parental alienation.
Parental alienation is the term given for those who experience the loss of contact between one parent and their children following parental separation, with one parent intentionally denying access to the other.
Charlie decided to take on the challenge after a person he knew suffered from parental alienation and faced the mental anguish associated with losing contact and relationship with their children, feeling that something should be done to raise much needed awareness around the issue.
Charlie says: “Having watched someone go through the experience of losing contact with their children, I have decided to bring the sensitive topic of parental alienation to the forefront across the island of Ireland.
“I have seen the devastating effect that it is has on someone close to me – the mental, emotional and physical impact.
“It also does huge damage to the children who are kept away from the other parent through no fault of their own, so I feel very strongly about this.
“The system does not do so enough in this area and that needs to change.”
Since Charlie began fundraising he has been overwhelmed by the support of so many kind and generous people who have made contact with him, and this has reinforced how important are the two linked causes of parental alienation and mental health.
Many parents from all over Ireland, both mums and dads, have connected with Charlie’s mission, and have shared their own painful experiences, being encouraged by someone ‘fighting their corner’.
Some have even decided to join him for parts of his walk as he journeys the length of the island.
To date, before he has even taken one step, the Glenarm man has raised an amazing £7,000, with donations from businesses and the public.
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