A GRANDMOTHER is to follow in the footsteps of pilgrims who have making a spiritual journey to Santiago de Compostela in Spain since the 10th century.

Janet Darwell, accompanied by her sister-in-law Linda Leyland, will be trekking the 500-mile Way of St James Pilgrimage, from France to the Spanish cathedral, in aid of Bolton charity Fortalice.

Miss Darwell, aged 66, said: “I am a keen cyclist and was looking for a challenge, and I had read about this.

“As I am cyclist, I thought I would walk it as cycling it would be easy because I have done both competitive and touring.

“I tried a part of the walk for five days and it was so spiritual, and I said I just want that feeling back.

“The full walk will take 32 days — and I can’t wait.”

She added: “I thought I wanted to do the walk in aid of something and I am doing it for Fortalice, a charity in which I am a very small cog and help with the Christmas gift-wrapping.”

Miss Darwell, from Horwich, has been given core fitness training from Worthy Fitness Centre.

Miss Darwell and Mrs Leyland have also been training for the walk at beauty spots in Bolton.

The pair will be completing no more than 17 miles a day and will be staying at hostels, monasteries and churches. Miss Darwell is paying for the trip herself — something she has been saving for — and every penny donated will go towards the project.

The money will go towards Fortalice’s plans to set up a counselling service for children aged four and over who have suffered trauma through the domestic abuse they have witnessed or suffered.

The fundraising programme is also being supported by schools, including Markland Hill and Claypool in Horwich whose pupils will take part in their own sponsored walk.

Horwich Harriers is completing a relay marathon on a treadmill and a signed Bolton Wanderers shirt will also be raffled.

Miss Darwell said: “I am doing the walk, but what others are doing is so inspiring.

“It is the community joining together for one cause — as a community we can really make a difference to these women and children who need our help and support.”

Miss Darwell will start her journey on May 12.

To support her, the community is being asked to organise a fundraising events for Fortalice, make a donation directly to the charity or visit justgiving.com/Janet-Darwell