Fundraising walkers take on charity trek

First three runners Justin Burt, Kelly Barnard and Ian Thompson
First three runners Justin Burt, Kelly Barnard and Ian Thompson

A man from Worthing is celebrating after being the first to cross the finish line at a fundraising challenge.

Ian Thompson was among other walkers and runners showing their support for Worthing based hospice St Barnabas House by taking part in the South Downs Trek.

Ian, who is 40, joined one hundred other fundraising champions to brave the wet and windy conditions on the South Downs on Saturday, October 7.

Participants set off from Devil’s Dyke at around 8am, and Ian completed the run in three hours and 40 minutes.

The South Downs Trek, now in its third year, is expected to raise around £30,000 for the charity, which will go towards funding vital hospice care services for adults with life-limiting illnesses across the local area.

This year was the first time that the annual event has been opened up for runners to take part in addition to walkers.

Ian, who often competes in triathlons, said: “My mother-in-law, Linda Keenlyside, was looked after by St Barnabas so I thought it was a fitting way to do something in memory of her. It was a challenge. I’ve not done any distances over 25km so it’s the longest I’ve run as well. There were a few cheeky little hills, especially the one after Washington and the one near the end after the tunnel. There was a crosswind and drizzle which was quite a challenge too, but enjoyable. My kids and wife joined me at four or five points along the way and they ran with me. The kids normally cross the finish line with me at the races I do. It was a really good day, even though the weather was challenging, and I’m so grateful for all of the volunteers as well. It’s a good event and hopefully we’ll have more runners taking part next year.”

Ian has raised over £560 in sponsorship. Sponsor him by making a donation via his JustGiving page: www.justgiving.com/southdownstrek2017

Lucy Bone, events fundraiser at St Barnabas House, said: “Despite the weather our 100 runners and walkers thoroughly enjoyed the event and we are expecting it to raise around £30,000 for the hospice which is a fantastic amount. I would like to say a big thank you to everyone who took part as well as our amazing volunteers who spurred on the walkers out on the route and helped with various different tasks at the start and finish line.

Soon after first place challenger Ian crossed the finish line he was joined by fellow runners Justin Burt and Kelly Barnard, a keen runner who has also competed in the Brighton Marathon and Brighton Half Marathon to raise money for St Barnabas House.

Kelly, 32, has a close personal connection to St Barnabas House after her dad, Brian Barnard, received care at the hospice while battling with kidney cancer.

Kelly said: “It was enjoyable and tough running it, but good fun and I enjoyed it. It was very windy. It was nice when you were welcomed by the checkpoints. Everyone was very cheery. It’s lovely to see everyone from all walks of life come together to raise money for an amazing charity. People should be proud for doing that.”

Kelly has raised over £3,700 for St Barnabas House by taking part in various running events and asking friends and family to sponsor her. Her JustGiving page can be found at www.justgiving.com/barneyrunsforbarnabas.

A total of 95 walkers took part in the South Downs Trek with Justin Lanchbery, Paul Clarke and Andy Hall, all part of the 12-strong Fittleworth Medical team, being the first to cross the finish line in 5 hours and 30 minutes.

Many walkers were taking part in memory of loved ones who have been cared for by St Barnabas House, including team ‘I could do with a brew’ which consisted of Sarah Homewood, Simon Whiting, Karen Dunn, Ian Oakley and Phil Whiting.

Sarah said: “We did it in memory of our mum, Lynn Whiting. She had lung cancer and St Barnabas helped her and cared for her in her last week. They were fabulous. They cared for her and it meant we could spend her last few days with her. We wanted to be able to give something back because they did such a fabulous job and you feel so helpless. We saw this challenge and decided to give it a go. We’ve beaten our targets and done really well with our fundraising. It’s a massive goal achieved. I’m glad I did it with my friends and family. It was just a great experience all around and I would recommend it to anybody thinking of doing it, but put in the preparation beforehand!”

Between them the ‘I could do with a brew’ team have raised over £1,800. Sponsor them at www.justgiving.com/companyteams/Icoulddowithabrew.

Registration is still open for the Dalia Lama India Trek for St Barnabas House which takes place in October 2018. For more information, or to register a place on the trek, visit www.stbh.org.uk/india.