Take part in a walk to support Sussex hospices
Friends of Sussex Hospices is asking walkers to step out on Saturday October 3 to support hospice care providers across the county.
The volunteer-run charity is calling on people to walk one section of the 200-mile Sussex Hospices Trail to raise funds for a local hospice of their choice.
Kathy Gore OBE, chairman of Friends of Sussex Hospices, walked the entire 200-mile trail in July, visiting 13 hospice care providers.
She said: “This is our fourth annual Walk the Hospice Trail Day and, of course, it is very different this year.
“There is no fee to register but donations are invited. We ask people to register their intention to walk to let us know which hospice they would like to support and then to download the AllTrails app for turn by turn instructions of their chosen route.
“As before, we know that some people will be walking to raise funds for their local hospice, some will be walking in memory of a friend or family member they hold dear, and some will be walking simply to enjoy our beautiful Sussex scenery.
“Whatever their reasons for walking we hope that every step will raise awareness of the vital role of the hospice movement.”
The event will raise money for St Wilfrid’s Chichester, Chestnut Tree House, Demelza, Hospice in the Weald, Leo House at Home, The Martlets in Hove, St Barnabas in Worthing, St Catherine’s in Crawley, St Michael’s in St Leonards, St Peter and St James in North Chailey, St Wilfrid’s in Eastbourne, the Sussex Snowdrop Trust, which is based in Walberton, and The Sussex Beacon in Brighton.
It will of course be important for all walkers to follow current Government Covid-19 guidelines for meeting outside.
All 26 walks, ranging from three to 11 miles in length, are available, fully described and mapped, on the AllTrails app.
Please note that walkers must download the AllTrails app for turn by turn instructions, a GPS signal and access to written instructions.
Alison Sampson, a nurse at St Michael’s Hospice in St Leonards, is part of a group of 20 hospice staff who are doing the Crowhurst to Battle section of the walk on the day.
Alison, who has now walked 14 sections of the trail, said they are doing it because it’s a good way to spend time together out of work – whilst helping to support St Michael’s in what is a very challenging time for the hospice as most fundraising events have been cancelled.
The 20 staff will be dividing up into groups in order to adhere to the recent ‘rule of six’ guidelines.
Andrew Griffith, MP for Arundel and South Downs, will be walking the Pulborough to Amberley section of the trail on the day and Gillian Keegan MP for Chichester will be walking the Chichester to Barnham section.
Andrew said: “I am looking forward to supporting all of our wonderful Sussex hospices by walking a section of the Sussex Hospice Trail.
“I hope to meet families and friends of those who have needed hospice care and it’s a great way to raise money and see more of our stunning South Downs landscape.”
Friends of Sussex Hospices champions and raises funds for the 13 hospice care providers that serve the adults and children of Sussex.
The charity is run entirely by volunteers and since it started, 25 years ago, it has distributed more than £3million.
Kathy will be out walking a section on the day, despite having covered the whole 200 mile route earlier this year to raise and incredible £38.500.
Commenting on her walk, Kathy said: “Covid-19 has created serious challenges for our hospices, with fundraising events cancelled and shops closed but demand for their services undiminished and likely to increase due to late diagnoses and delayed treatment.
“So being unable to do anything else I thought a solo, socially distanced, walk would highlight their plight and also raise funds to help bridge some of that huge funding gap.
“From July 1 to July 31 I walked all 200 miles of the Sussex Hospices Trail and it was a truly wonderful experience.
“ I saw parts of the county I’ve never seen before.
“I was blessed with good weather, apart from a couple of drizzly days, and the footpaths were clear and dry the whole way round.
“I was able to use the walk as a meditative journey to go within and explore what was important in my life and what I needed to let go of.
“I connected with nature and could see the vibrant beauty of so many living things I hadn’t seen or heard before – even though they were there all the time.
“I met some lovely people on the way who helped me when I was lost or who simply acknowledged the special place and time we shared by a nod or a smile or a brief chat.
“I called at each of the 13 hospice care providers FSH supports and caught up with their news.
“Like most charities, hospices have suffered huge losses of income due to the pandemic and, while they are grateful for the cash injection from the Government, many of them will have to draw on reserves to continue delivering vital care to patients and their families.
“Hospice nursing teams have had to overcome the difficulties of wearing face masks and distancing which go against the ethos of hospice care, where touch and facial expression are the primary language of compassion.”
“Hospice care doesn’t cure people but it does a lot of healing. Hospice care doesn’t add days to life but it adds quality of life to the days that remain.”
Register for the walk, on October 3, at www.hospicestrail.co.uk/walk-the-hospice-trail-day-2020