The head of a Jewish charity supporting sick children helped raise nearly £70,000, trekking across the Pyrenees on a route used by relative’s escaping the Nazis.

Neville Goldschneider, CEO of Camp Simcha, took on the arduous 45 mile Coastal Freedom Trail “in honour of my father-in-law” Joseph Sagal who died two years ago.

Sagal escaped from Nazi Germany through France, before using the trail to get to Portugal and eventually reaching the UK in 1942.

Speaking to Jewish News, Goldschneider, 55, said: “I was retracing his footsteps – and of course of the many men and women who did this.”

“Having done it myself now, I can really testify that it was an incredible thing for those people to have done. The bravery of youngsters who helped them to do it; those people were risking life and limb, because if they were caught the consequences were dire.”

The Hendon resident, who attends Alei Tzion shul said he’s “had well over 70 different donations from different people sponsoring me for this. I’ve been bowled over by the level of support from the community.” Neville has individually raised around £6,000 pounds for the hike.

Neville on the freedom trail

Neville on the freedom trail

Goldschneider took part in the four-day challenge alongside Camp Simcha members and trustees in a group ranging in age from 20 to 60.

Three of the participants were walking in memory of Neville Gothold who died last year, with their portion of funds going towards families with sick children who may be struggling for food.

Gothold’s wife Marilyn, who took part in Camp Simcha’s first overseas challenge through the Grand Canyon last year, said: ‘We found out my husband Neville was ill just after I returned from that trip. It felt right to do this fundraising trip in his name, especially with it falling the week before his stone-setting. To me it seemed like everything tying in so that I could do this to honour his memory.’

Beginning in Collioure, France and covering steep and rocky terrain, the Coastal hike finished at Cap de Creus, Spain.

All funds raised will go to the charity’s work physically and emotionally supporting around 1,000 children, their siblings and parents a year – of families who have a child with a serious illness.

If you want to donate to Neville Goldschneider’s fundraising campaign you can do so here.