THE president of Musselburgh Athletic Football Club is set for a fundraising challenge after recently recovering from cancer.

Karl Cleghorn, 61, a retired police officer and Royal Navy veteran, is planning to jog five laps a day for four days a week over 10 weeks around Olivebank, the club’s home.

In July last year, he was unexpectedly diagnosed with a life-threatening cancer after an ENT specialist at Lauriston Place, Edinburgh, used a camera and found a large cancerous tumour in his tonsil and throat.

Mr Cleghorn had visited his GP after concern about a recurring “jaggy throat” and sore nose.

He underwent a two-hour operation at St John’s Hospital in Livingston in August and awoke to the news that he had advanced throat and neck cancer.

He was later informed that it was classified as skin cancer, and was directly as a result of the HPV virus, which he may have contracted from his mother when he was born.

It had, Mr Cleghorn said, lain dormant in his throat and something unknown had “sparked it to life.”

He added: “HPV inoculations are nowadays routinely offered to young boys and girls whilst at school.”

Last September, again at a specialist unit at St John’s, Mr Cleghorn underwent an operation of more than seven hours. Surgeons removed a large amount of tissue from his throat, a small piece of his tongue and removed his lymph nodes, which were examined by hospital laboratory technicians to see if the cancer had spread to his lymphatic system.

“Fortunately, there was no sign of anything untoward at this time,” he said.

A further operation was also carried out to remove some “suspicious tissue” from his throat.

Mr Cleghorn said: “I was most fortunate on January 7 to be given the ‘all-clear’.

“Realistically, like many cancer patients, I know that this may not be the end of the story, but the NHS, its surgeons, nurses and other staff have given me the precious gift of life.

“Only 10 years ago, this cancer may not have had such a good outcome.

“It will take many more months for the healing to do its work, and for me to find ways to work with my newly shaped throat and the other side- and after-effects of cancer and surgery, but I shall persevere.”

Originally from Wallyford, Mr Cleghorn, a former president of Musselburgh Horticultural Society, served with the Royal Navy for 20 years, during which he was a helicopter mechanic with 845 Naval Air Squadron during the Falklands War, receiving the South Atlantic Medal. He worked as a police officer in Edinburgh for 20 years.

He has chosen the Institute of Cancer Research, Hollies Day Centre in Musselburgh, Veterans Charity and Musselburgh Athletic’s new floodlighting project to benefit from his challenge.

He said: “You can bet I am not going to waste a minute now. I will work away in the community as a volunteer where I can. I intend to also continue to travel, explore and adventure at home and abroad, whilst supporting the Armed Forces veterans who are in need.”

He added: “Physical and mental fitness are crucial to the recovery process – it’s tough going at times.

“Running is the singular most difficult exercise that I can undertake at the moment.

“It causes me pain in my limbs and neck, and my newly designed throat and windpipe are not as streamlined as they were in the good old days of yore.”

Starting this week, he will be running with his rescue English Springer Spaniel Monty, and plans to take a selfie every run and post it on the club’s Facebook page.

He said five laps at Olivebank were easily in excess of one mile, so he is asking supporters to consider donating 10p a lap, 50p a day four times a week for 10 weeks, totalling £20. Contributions can be made to account Musselburgh Athletic FC, sort code 83-25-43, account number 1584 4399.

He can also be emailed at

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