Putting in the miles has seen one group of loyal hospice supporters step their way to more than £36,000.
Led by personal trainer Kevin Marshall, Positive Steps, started their fundraising drive in 2013, and with their efforts and determination growing year after year they have raised £36,165.
Alongside fellow supporters Pamela Bailey, Heidi Griffiths, Ian Foreman and Wendy Abon, Kevin visited the hospice to find out the difference the money the Positive Steps team raises makes.
Kevin explained: “If I am completely honest I do think visiting the hospice has made me more passionate and determined to raise funds. I chose to start raising funds for the hospice because I believe that everyone deserves to die with dignity – and that is what you (the hospice) do.
“Positive Steps really wouldn’t have been able to raise the funds it has without the support of the whole team. I couldn’t do it without them.”
Kevin set up Positive Steps in 2011, initially offering personal training services in the Bury St Edmunds area, but, since then, the business has grown to include and specialise in both Nordic Walking and putting on challenge events on the trails and in the forests around East Anglia.
Each year Kevin and the Positive Steps team regularly hold two events for the hospice, the Bury to Clare Challenge and the Festive Forest Challenge, both of which have flourished.
“I think at our first Festive Forest Challenge we must have had around 50 people and we raised £900. We have been very lucky that over the years we have been able to build up support for the events. Last year we had more than 300 people do the Festive Forest challenge and we already have people signing up for the next Bury to Clare in May,” said Kevin.
Ian added: “The events have been able to grow because people enjoy them and the fact that they do raise funds for charity does really appeal to them.”
As the £36.165 figure also doesn’t include the funds raised by individual Positive Step members it is likely the final sum could be much higher.
Charlie De-Moore, the hospice’s events fundraiser, said: “The support Kevin and the Positive Steps team have given us over the years has truly been fantastic. The money they have raised helps us continue to care for those across our community in the final chapters of their lives making a huge difference to countless families across the area.
“Without our supporters we wouldn’t be able to provide the care we do, we are so grateful to Positive Steps for their continued support.”
The next Bury to Clare Challenge, an 18 mile run or walk, over the countryside of West Suffolk, through the villages of Hawstead, Whepstead, Somerton and others, will take place on Sunday, May 13. Registrations for the event are open.
The date for 2018’s Festive Forest Challenge will be announced shortly, with more information on both events available on the hospice’s website (www.stnicholashospicecare.org.uk) in the events section.
Pictured above is the team, left to right, Wendy Abon, Ian Foreman, Kevin Marshall, Heidi Griffiths and Pamela Bailey from Positive Steps who have raised £36,165 for St Nicholas Hospice Care.