Local hospice’s ‘Men’s Walk’ invites walkers for 10th anniversary event with a difference

Two participants from Men’s Walk 2020 © Mike Powell

Hospiscare’s flagship Men’s Walk event is back with a twist this March, to celebrate its 10th anniversary. And this year the charity needs the support of the community more than ever.

Hospiscare is a local charity that provides specialist care for terminally ill adults and their families in Exeter, Mid and East Devon. With just 18% of the charity’s funding coming from the NHS, Hospiscare relies upon donations from the public to provide end-of-life care to the local community.

The popular event, which normally sees over a thousand men walking eight miles through Exeter in support of the local hospice charity, has revamped its format this year to adapt to the times.

From the outset of the pandemic, Hospiscare adapted its fundraising efforts to ensure that its vital care for people living with life-limiting illnesses can continue at no cost to its patients. To ensure that Men’s Walk can take place this year safely and in line with government guidance, Hospiscare has introduced Men’s Walk–Your Way. Taking place on Saturday, 20th March, participants will walk a route of their choice in their local area, which means that everyone can take part safely from any corner of Devon – or the world!

All of the iconic elements of Men’s Walk will remain the same. Every walker will receive a Men’s Walk t-shirt, a special 10th year anniversary beer courtesy of Exeter Brewery and a pasty from Chunk of Devon – not to mention Ireland vs England in the Six Nations rugby tournament
to enjoy on the box afterwards! Wherever the route and location, participants will be walking together in spirit to support people and families living with a terminal illness across Exeter, Mid and East Devon.

Hospiscare CEO, Andrew Randall, says: “The coronavirus [disease] pandemic has had a drastic impact on our income in the last year.
As a small local charity, 82% of our funding comes from local people who are determined to help others when they need it most. We simply couldn’t provide our specialist end-of-life care without the support of people who take part in events such as Men’s Walk – and we’ve never needed the support more than now. We’re so grateful to all of our walkers, as well as our generous event sponsor, Wilkinson Grant.”

The care that Hospiscare provides is funded by donations and therefore incurs no cost for the patient. Hospiscare is also dedicated to providing supportive care for the friends and family of the patients, both in the lead up to their loved one’s death and after their death through the charity’s supportive bereavement services. One group of loyal participants are especially determined to take part. Friends John Selley, Graham Lofts and Philip Jacobs have taken part in the sponsored walk together every year since it began.

John explained how their Men’s Walk tradition started: “The three of us worked together on Barrack Road near the Exeter hospice so it was a very local charity for us. We knew it was a worthy cause that we could get behind. I lost my mum to cancer in 2013 and it became a close personal cause.”

Philip said: “Men’s Walk just ticks all of the boxes: we get to support a local charity, it gets us out walking and there’s a pint, a pasty and rugby to watch at the end!”

Graham adds: “It’s a good opportunity to enjoy a spring walk and enjoy the rugby and refreshments. It seemed like such a good thing when it was first set up so we all continued to take part.

‘I’m retired now so taking part in Men’s Walk is a good way to get together, support a good cause, and get some exercise!”

For John, having the option to take part from any location is a huge perk: John recently moved to France but – thanks to the new format – he will still be able to take part in the 10th anniversary event from home.

John concludes: “Even though I am now living in France, I will get my brother involved so Hospiscare will have at least two international participants for Men’s Walk – Your Way!”

To sign up to Men’s Walk–Your Way and raise sponsorship to support your local hospice charity, visit https://www.hospiscare.co.uk/menswalk

Laura White

Author: Laura White

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