Inspirational stars of Walk the Wight 2017 recognised
Photo: Stephanie Mackrill Photography
An evening full of emotion and gratitude has marked the extraordinary efforts of inspirational walkers who took part in this year’s Walk the Wight, Earl Mountbatten’s flagship fundraising event.
2017 was another breakthrough year with over 8,400 men, women, children and dogs taking part in a variety of routes; the 26-mile Full Walk, family-friendly and wheelchair accessible Flat Walk, Half Walks starting from either Bembridge or Carisbrooke, and the Schools Walk from Freshwater to the overall finish line at the Needles Landmark Attraction.
Each year, trophies and cups are presented to the winners of a number of categories including awards for the youngest and oldest walkers, the most money raised and the best fancy dress costumes. A number of personal achievement awards are also given to those who have overcome adversity to conquer the Flat Walk, and these are chosen by Lions Clubs from across the Island. The evening, which was held on Thursday 29 September, is a chance to thank the many sponsors, suppliers and Walk the Wight volunteer committee who all contribute their time and resources to make the event such a success. Prizes are presented to the winners by Walk the Wight sponsors, supporters and Earl Mountbatten staff and trustees.
Our Walk the Wight 2017 award winners
Among the winners at last night’s ceremony was Paul Fillbrook who, with his brother Neil, walked in memory of their father Ed, who died earlier this year under the care of Earl Mountbatten. Paul and Neil took up the challenge to walk the 26-mile route in Ed’s memory with a photo of their father on their backs, meaning that Ed was able to complete his favourite walking event one last time. Paul’s employer Brit Insurance generously tripled the amount raised on the brother’s Just Giving Page, which brought Paul’s fundraising total to £4,179, and led to him being presented with the Hospice Cup for the most money raised by an individual. Together, the brothers raised an incredible £6,269.34 in total.
The Hayward Family Cup was presented by longtime supporter Mike Hayward and his wife Brenda in memory of their daughter Claire. It was awarded to Lucas Ward, who was the youngest person to complete half the walk. Aged just 5, he dressed as a knight in shining armour to conquer the Bembridge to Carisbrooke route.
The Bill Bradley Cup for the youngest walker to complete the whole 26-mile walk was presented to Alfie Eagan, 6, who walked for his grandma who has recently been diagnosed with cancer. The cup was presented by Jo Smith and Elaine Harris, whose late father Bill Bradley founded Walk the Wight with colleague Frank Stevens.
Newport Lion’s Club President Denis Pierce presented the top young fundraiser for the Flat Walk accolade to Olivia Hughes. She raised a fantastic £278 for her efforts.
The recipient of the HF Holidays Cup for the most money raised by a schoolchild for Schools Walk the Wight was Ben Strickland from Summerfields Primary School – the second time he has won the award. Ben, who has cerebral palsy, completed the walk in memory of his great grandmother and raised an incredible £1,870.50. Tony Wooton, general manager of HF Holidays Freshwater Bay House, presented Ben with his award and a goody bag donated by HF Holidays.
The Harris Family Cup, established in memory of Anthony Harris who died at the hospice aged just 22, was given to the school that raised the most money. The winner this year was Hunnyhill Primary School in Newport, which raised over £3,000
Even pets have been recognised for their efforts and the Top Dog Award sponsored by Pet Doctors went to Lexi who, with owner Lisa Brodie, raised a tail-wagging £450. Each year Pet Doctors offer free health and weight checks for all dogs taking part, as well as well as sponsoring the coveted bone-shaped dog medals, which are given to four-legged participants.
Dressing up as grannies, complete with inflatable Zimmer frames, earned Leanne Morris, Alix Parsons, Rio Parsons and Mick Dixey the Jackman Family Cup for the Best Fancy Dress.
The most money raised by a team, awarded by longtime supporters the Needles Landmark Attraction, went to “Team Gavin”. This 18-strong team was made up of family and friends of Shawn Gavin, who spent his last few weeks under the hospice’s care.
Walk the Wight couldn’t take place without the dedication and support of an army of volunteers. The Mike Wray Memorial Cup recognises a particular volunteer whose contribution is outstanding. For the third year running, the award was presented to “superstar” volunteer Karen Spiers for organising the 8-mile Flat Walk between Sandown and Shide, with help from marshals of the Lions Clubs of Newport, Ryde, Sandown, Shanklin and Ventnor.
Ryde Lion’s Flat Walk Personal Achievement Award was presented to Margret Broadhurst who, having battled serious illness and health problems last year, decided she wanted to challenge herself and ‘tick something off the bucket list’. Despite having an operation just a month earlier, Margret overcame the odds to complete the Flat Walk in 4.5 hours. A second Flat Walk Personal Achievement Award was presented to Lee Marples for his optimism whilst taking part.
The Ventnor Lion’s Flat Walk Personal Achievement Award was presented to Cloe Rayner, whose family took part in memory of her grandma who was in the care of the hospice. Alex Humphreys was presented with the Sandown/Shanklin Lion’s Cup for Flat Walk Personal Achievement for his enthusiasm on the 8-mile walk. A second Flat Walk Personal Achievement Award was given by Sandown/Shanklin Lion’s Club to Marina Broad.
At the age of 92, Leonard Tewkesbury shows no sign of slowing down and was presented with the Newport Lion’s Shield for the oldest participant on the Flat Walk. Leonard also holds the accolade for being the oldest participant overall for the second year running, and this year enjoyed taking part with this granddaughter.
Morey’s is where Walk the Wight began 27 years ago. Now known as Jewsons, they continue to be great hospice supporters spearheaded by General Manager Ron Bowler who marshaled the very first Walk the Wight from the back of his car. He presented Cynthia James with the Morey’s Challenge Cup for the oldest lady to complete half of the walk, and John White with the Hospice Cup for the oldest man to complete half the walk at 86 years young.
The Martin Holmes Memorial Cup is dedicated to the memory of longstanding Walk the Wight committee member Martin Holmes who was an active volunteer and member of Ryde Rotary. It was presented to the oldest lady to complete the entire 26.5-mile walk Sylvia Haddon, who was 80 at the time of the walk. The Fran Sexton Memorial Cup for the oldest man to complete the whole route went to spritely Bob Congdon, who at the age of 79 regularly walks around the West Wight with his neighbour Linda.
Fundraising total so far revealed
It was also revealed at the award’s ceremony that Earl Mountbatten’s Walk the Wight 2017 raised another huge fundraising total of £278,544, including Gift Aid, with further sponsorship still outstanding.
If you have yet to send in your sponsorship, you can still do so – details can be found here.
Thank you and see you next year!
Jax Jones, Major Events Fundraiser and Walk the Wight organiser, said: “Once again, it has been so humbling to hear the stories of triumph over adversity and the sheer determination to raise as much money to support Islanders when they need our hospice care most. This is a truly inspiring event and whilst our awards ceremony celebrates many extraordinary achievements, we are truly grateful to every single one of the 8,400 participants who have supported us this year.”
Nigel Hartley, Chief Executive, said: “Words cannot really express how grateful we are for the gift of Walk the Wight, nor how tremendously proud we are of all our sponsors, supporters, volunteers and walkers who make it happen every year. We are so incredibly lucky to have the unwavering support of our Island community, who every year contribute in so many ways to providing hospice care to those who are dying and bereaved. A heartfelt thank you, and we hope to see you again next year!”
The date for next year’s Walk the Wight was confirmed as Sunday 13 May 2018.