A DEDICATED mountaineer is taking on a gruelling Romanian challenge in Count Dracula’s back yard.
David Taylor-Gooby is just days away from starting the Fagaras Ridge challenge, a tough 50-mile walk across the Romanian mountains of Transylvania – home of author Bram Stoker’s legendary vampire Count – which stand up to 19,000ft-high.
The 65-year-old is taking on the challenge to raise money for the Multiple Sclerosis Society.
The former councillor for the District of Easington lives on the same street as Lucy Wood, the seven-year-old who suffers with the condition.
Lucy, whose dad Stuart also suffers with MS, was aged just five when she was diagnosed, and earlier this year was one of the youngest people in the world to be prescribed tysabri, a drug to help control the condition.
But despite the diagnosis, Lucy is getting on with her life as best as possible.
David, of Peterlee, says he regularly sees a smiling Lucy playing happily with her friends.
He had already planned to do the walk, but was inspired by the youngster and her dad and wanted to raise awareness of the condition.
“I know Lucy’s dad and he holds down a very good job and gets on with his life despite his condition,” said David, a dad-of-two who is married to Maureen.
“Lucy has to go for treatment every month, but she just soldiers on as well.
“She does her best to get on with it. I think she’s an inspiration to others.”
Walking is a passion of David’s and along with his brother, Peter, who will be joining him in Romania, they have completed a number of gruelling challenges.
Fund-raising is under way and David already has £200 to boost the MS Society.
He is hoping to reach the £500 mark by the time he begins his challenge on Tuesday, July 12.
“I wanted to raise some money for the cause and to raise awareness and this seemed the ideal opportunity,” added David, who is chairman of the Apollo Pavilion Community Association, in Peterlee.
“The generosity of people never fails to amaze me so hopefully we can raise £500.
“I am all set for the walk now, I’m really looking forward to it.”