HOSPITAL staff from the portering and security team at Royal Hampshire County Hospital swapped the hospital corridors for the road to Canterbury to complete a fundraising challenge in aid of Winchester Hospice.
A team of four took on the challenge of walking 133 miles from Winchester to Canterbury, known as the Pilgrim’s Way, to raise money for Winchester Hospice, which is being created on the site of Royal Hampshire County Hospital.
Keith Elms, one of the porters taking part in the walk, alongside Nick Standen, Andy Mitchell and Monty Armstrong, said:
As a team we decided we wanted to get involved in the fundraising appeal for Winchester Hospice and do our bit to help. One of the team had heard of the Pilgrim’s Way walk and after a bit of research we decided to go for it.
No formal training was completed ahead of the big event, instead their days jobs helped to prepare them for what was ahead of them, as they often walk between 10-12 miles a day around the hospital in Winchester, helping patients and staff every step of the way.
The team set off on the hottest day of the year, and over the four-and-a-half days of the challenge often walked long distances at night in order to make up some of the miles lost during the sunny days.
A combination of the heat and the hills was the most difficult part, but we all kept each other motivated to keep on walking. It was emotional at times because we all have connections to hospices and know the difference they make, so when it was tough we thought of our families, which gave us the strength to carry on.
It is an incredible feeling to have completed the challenge. The whole experience was a real adventure and we are all so happy to have done it in aid of Winchester Hospice.
Over £1,400 has already been raised, surpassing the team’s target, with more expected over the coming days.
As well as providing inpatient care, Winchester Hospice will provide a hub for specialist palliative care in the community through outpatient services, therapies and caring for people in their own homes.
Alex Whitfield, chief executive of Hampshire Hospitals NHS Foundation Trust, which runs Royal Hampshire County Hospital, as well as hospitals in Andover and Basingstoke, said:
It’s been fantastic to see staff members across our Trust get behind Winchester Hospice, which will make such a difference to patients and their families, and I want to thank Keith and the whole team for their extraordinary efforts.
Thanks in no small part to the incredible fundraising of the local community, we are close to being able to start building work, but we aren’t there yet. We need to raise over £700,000 to be able to open the doors to Winchester Hospice, so I’d like to encourage everyone to get involved and help us to make a difference to the lives of patients for years to come.
The Pilgrims’ Way is the historical route taken by pilgrims from Winchester to the shrine of Thomas Becket at Canterbury, in Kent.
For more information about Winchester Hospice and how to get involved, visit www.winchesterhospice.com
Photo: All four members of the team with Sabrina Marsden, fundraising assistant for Winchester Hospice
Photo Gallery: Porters charity walk – at their final destination outside Canterbury cathedral