TWO Borders women are set to walk the St Cuthbert’s Way to raise money for the Guide Dogs charity.

Shona Ramsay from Jedburgh and Jan Shirley, from Oxnam, will start at Lindisfarne (Holy Island) at 11.30am on Tuesday, October 12 and finish at Melrose Abbey in the afternoon of Saturday, October 16.

The year 2020 was a difficult one for Shona.

Not only has she had to manage without a guide dog since Oscar retired, but she contracted COVID and was diagnosed with bowel cancer in the early part of the year.

She was hospitalised and underwent chemo and radiotherapy treatment for 28 days.

But Shona has now made a full recovery and is back to a fighting fit condition.

And she intends to celebrate this turnaround in her health by undertaking the 100 kilometre walk for the charity which is celebrating its 90th birthday this year.

Jan told the Border Telegraph: “It costs around £60,000 to fund a guide dog from birth to retirement and the cost is funded from the charity, not the government or NHS as many people think.

"We hope that other walkers will join us for sections of the walk, or just to give us a cheer on along the way. If anyone would like to donate to this worthy cause they can do so via our Facebook page which is called '90km for Guide Dogs'."

Guide Dogs have been a huge support to Shona over the past eight years.

Oscar has helped her live a normal day-to-day life and she is hoping to be partnered with a new dog soon.

The retired guide dog remains with Shona and although no longer guides her, he can be seen by her side for his regular exercise around the town.

Shona told us: “Oscar has arthritis so won’t be doing the whole walk although he will be with me for parts of it. Jan will be my guide.

"Whereas Oscar would take me round things, Jan will tell me when to lift my feet so she will have to concentrate for the full time which is very difficult."

Since its formation in 1931, the Guide Dogs charity has funded 36,000 dogs.

It requires £75.7m per year to operate and the cost of training a puppy to become a guide dog is £34,600.

Shona and Jan's itinerary is as follows: October 12 - Lindisfarne to St Cuthbert's Cave (start 11.30am); October 13 - St Cuthbert's Cave to Wooler (start 9.30am each day from today); October 14 - Wooler to Kirk Yetholm Village Green; October 15 - Kirk Yetholm to Harestanes Visitor Centre and October 16 - Harestanes - Melrose Abbey.