In the latest of this season’s Thursday features, Gary Heatly catches up with Stirling County CC’s Louis Ware…
Louis Ware is used to running between the wickets and running to save boundaries with his cricketing hat on, but he will have his walking hat on for the rest of the summer as he aims to complete a gruelling challenge to raise vital funds for charity.
The 21-year-old – who learnt his cricket at Bute County CC and Greenock CC as a youth at and, in more recent years, has turned out for Stirling County CC – is planning to walk and wild camp from Land’s End to John O’Groats starting on Friday, July 2.
While he does that, along the way he will be climbing the three peaks – Snowden, Scafell Pike, and Ben Nevis – and, just to add a touch of uniqueness to proceedings, he will be completing it all in a kilt.
it is all to raise money for the MS Society charity.
Multiple Sclerosis (MS) is a lifelong condition that affects the brain and nerves causing a wide range of symptoms, including problems with vision, movement, sensation and balance in both the arms and the legs.
This condition can affect many people for the majority of their lives and the cause is one that is personal to Louis because his grandad Ian Smith suffered with MS for a large portion of his life died just over a year ago.
“Grandad was diagnosed around 1986 with relapsing-remitting MS which became secondary progressive,” Louis explains.
“Despite his mobility decreasing as he got older he never gave up and found ways to continue living independently on his own until he died aged 90.
“Up until his mid-80s he continued with the gardening and doing small DIY jobs.
“It was his determination to always keep active and his strong will never to give up that has inspired me to do this walk in memory of him.
“He was an inspiration to me and if I can raise some money to help people currently living with MS then that would be great.
“When I started playing cricket he always used to take a keen interest and look at all the scores which I really enjoyed as a youngster and we shared a love of the sport for sure.”
Louis, who has just completed a history degree at the University of Stirling, has estimated that he will be on the road for most of July, the whole of August and the start of September to complete his challenge.
“I am excited about the challenge, I have done enough thinking about it now and I just want to get going,” he states.
“Over the years I have done quite a bit of walking and ticked off things like the West Highland Way, but this will be a totally different kettle of fish and I am ready to take it on.
“The pandemic has pushed it back a bit, but training has been going well, so fingers crossed things get off to a good start in the coming days. It will be physically and mentally tough, but I am keen to give it a go.”
Louis was born in England, but moved to Rothesay on the Isle of Bute when he was around 18 months of age and started playing cricket with Bute County as a youngster.
“It was really fun playing cricket there and I had a great time playing with my mates there before I moved to Greenock in my teens to help me push for West regional recognition and Scotland age-grade recognition,” he said.
“I enjoyed my time at Greenock, but when I moved to Stirling for uni it made sense to join County and I have played with the first XI there for the last three or four years. There is a great club atmosphere at Stirling and the club is in a good place, so I’ll be looking out for their results while I am on my walk.”
Louis has already raised over £3,000, but to help him keep that total moving up visit justgiving.com/fundraising/louis-ware1
Louis is pictured in training earlier this year, with his grandad and with Brandon McMullen celebrating success for Stirling County CC