VIDEO: 72-year-old’s hill challenge raises money for My WiSH and Life is For Living

Vasanti Patel with Sally Daniels, from the My WiSH Charity and June Lewis and Suzanne Norman from Life is For Living at Castle Hill. Photo: My WiSH Charity. 

Vasanti Patel video

Sprightly Vasanti Patel has scaled a landmark hill in Thetford 1,000 times in a bid to raise money for two local charities.

The 72-year-old, who retains her zest for life and whose age belies her stamina, had originally planned to walk up and down Castle Hill over the course of the year but beat that by completing the challenge in just nine months.

She had helped to raise £1,000 last year as part of the Captain Tom initiative which helped to pay for a defibrillator for the Park Run team in the town by walking the hill 100 times.

But in February 2021 she began her latest epic challenge climbing the 88 steps almost every day raising a total of £1,100 which has been evenly split between the My WiSH Charity, which supports the work of the West Suffolk NHS Foundation Trust, and Life is For Living, a weekly exercise group for older adults to help with mobility, muscle strength and co-ordination and based in Thetford.

Some days she walked the hill four or five times and the most she completed in one day was 16 climbs.

Vasanti keeps active during the week being involved in a series of groups and organisations.

She can regularly be seen early on Saturday mornings in Abbey Meadow clearing up any litter prior to the Park Run which she is a participant often walking/running the course and again on Sundays to tidy the park ready for the Junior Park Run. 

Mondays are dedicated to her regular yoga classes and on Tuesdays and Friday she meets up with the local ramblers.

Vasanti, who lives in Thetford, said: “I like to be busy and I like to support a lot of local groups and people and I thought that the NHS was a good one to support as well as Life Is For Living.

“A lot of people supported me and gave me money for the funds and they have been very generous.

“During lockdown there was not much to do but walk so I decided to walk up Castle Hill and I noticed that so many people were doing such amazing things.

“People saw me doing it which encouraged me and I was walking it every day sometimes about four or five times.”

June Lewis, who set up the exercise and socialising group back in November 2015, said she was “grateful” for the funds raised by Vasanti.

Life is For Living has about 20 members who meet once a week at the Fulmerston Church Hall, in Thetford.

She said: “We have had a constant stream of people come and go with the group. Twice a year we go on visits and have lunches now and then.

“I am very grateful for the funds raised by Vasanti and it will help with forthcoming bills and so grateful she thought of us when there are so many other deserving organisations.”

Sally Daniels, fundraising manager for My WiSH Charity added: “When we arrived at the Castle Hill we were met by Vasanti plus a big group of her friends which was lovely and shows what a wonderful lady she is. She has such a zest for life which is lovely to see and we can’t thank her enough for fundraising for us and helping us to continue enhancing the care of patients and supporting staff at West Suffolk NHS Foundation Trust”. 

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