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Storms and lockdown don’t stop hospice fundraiser

A hospice fundraiser braved stormy weather and the challenges of lockdown to complete a 1,000 mile fundraising walk to help the care, support and activities provided at Eden Valley Hospice.

On Monday 3 February, Jess Maxwell, began her fundraising challenge as she aimed to walk the length of Great Britain from John O’Groats to Land’s End in aid of the Carlisle based charity. During the early part of the challenge Jess battled wet and stormy weather before the challenge was placed on hold due to the coronavirus lockdowns.

Jess, a former student at the University of Cumbria explained, “I struggled mostly with blisters and the weather. My feet were in ruins which had a big effect on the start of the walk, but once I got this sorted the only thing that seemed to pose the toughest challenge was the weather. There were storms, cold, gale force winds and snow. I felt like I saw the four seasons in four weeks.

“The best moments were all the incredible views, places and people I met. I can’t choose from them all but a couple that stand out were the views on the West Highland Way, along Loch Lomond and the final part of the walk to Land’s End, the weather was beautiful, I had amazing walking companions and a great celebration at the end.

“Due to Covid-19, the B&Bs and hotels I had booked to stay in had to close near the end of my walk, and at this time exercise was only permitted for a limited amount each day. Therefore I had to complete large sections of the Devon and Cornwall section on a treadmill.”

Jess, who completed part of her studies at Eden Valley Hospice, completed the challenge in different sections as she walked on average 20 miles a day. Along the route she was joined by different people who completed a section and supported her mammoth fundraising challenge.

Jess continued, “I would like to thank everyone who has supported me throughout this challenge. People who have walked with me, provided accommodation, massages, and supplies and all the support from the hospice. Everyone has been incredible, and I could not have done it without everyone's encouragement.”

Through Jess’s determination she has raised £2,180 in aid of Eden Valley Hospice by walking from John O’Groats to Land’s End. The money raised by Jess will help the charity to provide the highest standards of care, support and activities to local people with life limiting illnesses.

As key workers, both the clinical and support staff teams at Eden Valley Hospice are here for the local community. The hospice is doing all it can during these times to continue to provide care to those in need, whilst following strict guidelines.

Eden Valley Hospice is open and continuing to provide care and compassion to local people with life limiting illnesses. The hospice is there for the local community and still supporting the NHS.

Jess concluded, “I think it’s really important to challenge yourself, whatever your toughest challenge may be, doing anything which pushes yourself helps you to develop your resilience. I found that this challenge helped me to learn lots about myself, and the country we live in. If anyone would like to hear stories about my challenge, or are thinking or taking part in a challenge, please do get in touch with me via the Walking John O’Groats Lands End Facebook Page.

“I would love to thank the team at the hospice for all their support and encouragement and would challenge more of us to take on challenges to raise money for this incredible charity.”