Macclesfield Express - - EAST CHESHIRE RAMBLERS -

A GROUP of East Cheshire Hos­pice col­leagues, who have spent weeks hik­ing across the coun­try on foot, are help­ing make life a lot eas­ier for pa­tients who just want to take the weight off their feet.

Suf­fer­ing blis­ters and sores, the group has raised £40,000 for the hos­pice in a se­ries of long treks over the last seven years, with another great walk planned for next spring.

And now their hard­earned ef­forts have helped to pay for a spe­cial­ist chair which will en­able blood trans­fu­sions at the hos­pice to be car­ried out in com­fort.

The hos­pice launched its unique blood trans­fu­sion ser­vice last June and with pa­tients hav­ing to sit for a min­i­mum of six hours and some­times up to eight hours, comfy seat­ing is im­per­a­tive.

“With its padded gel seat and tilt­ing back­rest, this chair will make a mas­sive dif­fer­ence to the pa­tients’ lives,” said ad­vanced nurse prac­ti­tioner, Sarah Dale.

“Pa­tients can some­times be tired and drained and nor­mal seat­ing just doesn’t give them the re­lax­ation they need”.

The chair is the latest in a long list of equip­ment bought by the walk­ing group which in­cludes hos­pice nurse, Penny Mol­loy and oc­cu­pa­tional ther­a­pist, Marie Leddy.

Their first fundrais­ing walk in 2007 was the 73-mile Great Glen Way which stretches from coast to coast across the High­lands of Scot­land. Two years later, the 80-mile Wick­low Way south of Dublin was their cho­sen route, while in 2011 the group chose to walk the 84-mile trek along the Hadrian’s Wall path.

With the group ev­ery step of the way along ev­ery route has been Ub – a flea-bit­ten ven­tril­o­quist’s dummy owned by one of the walk­ers, Moira Fur­mage. The mas­cot man­ages to get into the ram­bling mood by wear­ing ap­pro­pri­ate cloth­ing for each walk.

“In Scot­land, he wore his kilt and on the Ir­ish walk he was dressed as a lep­rechaun,” said Marie. “And of course he was a Ro­man cen­tu­rion when we tack­led Hadrian’s Wall. The walks are quite a chal­lenge usu­ally last­ing up to six days, es­pe­cially the last one when we camped out ev­ery night.

“But they are also very ther­a­peu­tic and the laugh­ing and singing along the way keeps us go­ing.”

The next walk, across the West High­land Way, may be their tough­est walk to date. The 96-mile route passes through Glen­coe and the foot of Ben Ne­vis, although the group say there are no plans to climb Bri­tain’s high­est moun­tain.

The hos­pice is en­cour­ag­ing more peo­ple to set their own chal­lenge and is hop­ing more than 1,600 peo­ple will take part in their ‘Chal­lenge Se­ries’ this year.

There are a range of chal­lenges in the pro­gramme, all with easy reg­is­tra­tion – find the one for you at eastcheshire­hos­pice.org. uk/chal­lenge-2015.

‘This chair will make a mas­sive dif­fer­ence’

●● Wendy El­ton, Marie Leddy, Penny Molly, Sue Lyons, Lyn Dob­son and Sylvia Gaskell

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