Triple challenge for charity walkers
A decade of successful fundraising celebrated
MORE than 600 walkers from across Buckinghamshire, and beyond joined Rennie Grove Hospice Care on Sunday 9 September to celebrate a decade of the Chilterns 3 Peaks Challenge.
This spectacular walk – which is the last section of the Ridgeway National Trail – offered an opportunity to walk seven, 11 or 20 miles and raise vital funds for an important local hospice charity. Participants took advantage of the chance to get together with friends, colleagues, family, children and dogs to enjoy a day out walking in the fresh air, taking in the incredible views around this area of outstanding natural beauty.
Speaking at the start of the challenge, Rennie Grove Hospice Care’s chief executive Stewart Marks said: “It’s great to see so many people taking part in a community event whilst raising funds for charity. Rennie Grove depends on the support of local people and we are so grateful for all those who have turned out today. We hope everyone – and their dogs – enjoy their walk.”
It was ideal walking weather with outbreaks of sunshine and a cool breeze as participants of all ages tackled the first two peaks of Whiteleaf Cross and Coombe Hill, while some persevered through more windy conditions to make it up to the top of the final peak at Ivinghoe Beacon. Multitudes of mums, dads, kids, friends, colleagues and dogs showed their support for a vital local cause by taking part and thoroughly enjoyed the friendly and encouraging atmosphere of the event, which could not have taken place without the support of local volunteers and businesses such as the event sponsor, Origin and transport providers Arriva Buses.
A team of 12 members from Xcelerate Fitness in Marlow including beautiful Bonnie the dog (who was very keen to get started) were all undertaking the 20 mile route.
Derek Baker was walking in memory of his late wife Gwynfa who was cared for by what was then Iain Rennie Hospice at Home nurses towards the end of 2001 and into the early part of 2002. “The nurses provided a wonderful service to my wife,” Derek recalled and is pleased to be supporting Rennie Grove today.
For Amy and Jaydon from Great Missenden this was their first time at the Chilterns 3 Peaks and they were opting for the 11 mile route. And while Jaydon was feeling “excited” Amy was feeling “rather nervous!”
Rennie Grove’s own Family Support Team were looking forward to getting to know each other better during the walk and had brought along partners, children and dogs too.
Another team of work colleagues setting out together and raising funds for Rennie Grove were from Prospect House Surgery in Great Missenden also accompanied by Rennie Grove Supporting Hands volunteer Gita. Gita said: “I am so excited to be taking part and walking with the team from Prospect House where my friend works.”
Align Design and Construct who are working on the HS2 project in the area brought a team of 15 people to undertake the Chilterns 3 Peaks Challenge. Jordana from Align’s community engagement team explained: “We are walking today to do something for charity and for the local community”.
Upon reaching the seven mile mark, many took the opportunity to reflect in Rennie Grove’s Memorial Woodland in Wendover. Those who were taking part in memory of a loved one could hang a memory tag with a personalised message on one of the trees as a dedication to their special person and take a moment to remember the good times that they had shared.
At nearly 86 Clem Reed from Wendover, who was walking with his wife Mary, was pleased to tackle the seven mile route for the first time. At the finish line, Clem said: “I would really recommend this event to others. The views were excellent!”
Arriva buses bought seven mile walkers back to their own vehicles parked at Princes Risborough School whilst those walking on to complete the 11 mile route revived and refuelled before boarding the bus to Tring station to complete the final four miles on foot. Those who were taking on the ultimate 20 mile challenge trekked on to complete the entire route from Princes Risborough to Wendover and then continued on, joining the 11-milers at Tring Station before the final push to the top of Ivinghoe Beacon.
As participants reached the end of the challenge at the top of Ivinghoe Beacon, there were smiles all round and a great sense of achievement.
Rennie Grove shop volunteer Sandra Haine together with her husband Charles and Jerry Hall completed the 20 mile route: “It was a great day out. There was a really good atmosphere and spirit among everyone taking part and it was the perfect chance to get out in the fresh air and enjoy the countryside. The whole event was really well organised and the marshals were all so friendly.”
Also enjoying the opportunity to be outside and to spend time together as a family were the Sawyers from Chesham Bois and Tring who proudly completed the 11 mile route.
Sue, together with son James and grandchildren Joe and Beth, were taking part to support Rennie Grove after the nurses cared for Sue’s husband.
Sue said: “This is the fourth year I have taken part and it’s been lovely to do something together for such a good cause and take time to talk to each other.”
Shailza Leaver, mum to two of the children cared for by our Children’s Hospice at Home team, took part alongside Rennie Grove children’s nurse, Francesca Lennon. Shailza said: “It’s mentally tiring looking after the boys every day but today I’ve had the chance to push myself physically and it’s been really good. The countryside has been lovely – you really don’t have to go to Scotland for good views.” Francesca added: “A big thank you to the wonderful and friendly marshals and other volunteers who have made today possible.”
Reflecting on the day, Stewart Marks said, “In the decade since its inception, this amazing walk has raised tens of thousands of pounds for Rennie Grove Hospice Care enabling us to continue to provide our specialist nursing services for adults and children in Bucks and Herts who have cancer and other life-limiting illness.
“I am so impressed by the enthusiasm and camaraderie that I have witnessed today among all the walkers and want to say a huge thank you to everyone who has joined us and made the day such a resounding success.”
Jaydon and Amy from Great Missenden
Rennie Grove Supporting Hands volunteer Gita
Team Xcelerate Fitness from Marlow Team Align Rennie Grove’s family support team
Team Xcelerate at the finish line
Sandra and Charles Haine with Jerry Parr
Support on route