Heroes walked 21 miles to raise £51k for charity

A group of happy walkers

A group of happy walkers - Credit: Peter Cutts

More than 300 people took part in a Hospital Hero Hike, completing the 21-mile challenge and raising over £51,000. 

Colchester & Ipswich Hospitals Charity organised the walk that took place on Sunday, May 1 to collect money to support patient care and improve facilities across the hospitals and community sites operated by East Suffolk and North Essex NHS Trust (ESNEFT). 

Group shot of walkers at the start

Group shot of walkers at the start - Credit: Colchester & Ipswich Hospitals Charity

Members of the public walked side-by-side with local NHS staff from Colchester Hospital to Ipswich Hospital and together raised more than £51,000. 

Along the cross-country route, walkers enjoyed some of the area’s most beautiful countryside, while getting fit and fundraising for the charity.  

Walkers along the route

Walkers along the route - Credit: Peter Cutts

Jonathan Withers, a maintenance technician for ESNEFT’s estates department, walked the picturesque route with his good friend Tom Heaney.  

The men were the first to finish the 21- mile walk that took them just five hours and 42 minutes, while the average walker needed approximately eight to nine hours to do the route. 

Left to Right: Angie Tillett, Head of Relationship Fundraiser

Left to Right: Angie Tillett, Head of Relationship Fundraising, first two ladies to finish (names unknown), Tom Heaney, Jonathan Withers, ESNEFT Estates, and Martin Leatherdale, Lion Walk Shopping Centre, Colchester - Credit: Colchester & Ipswich Hospitals Charity

Jonathan said: “As a member of staff, I’m so proud to support and finish first for this incredible charity. I’m now looking forward to relax a little before their next event!” 

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Tom said: “It was a very well-planned event and route. I was feeling a bit tired at the end, but it was well worth it. I’ll definitely be back again next year to support this fantastic charity.” 

Drinks and refreshments were provided by the charity halfway at The Lambe School, East Bergholt.  

While raising money for ESNEFT was the real motivation for all the participants, live music during the event gave all the walkers a boost. 

Jason Frederick at the Lambe School

Jason Frederick at the Lambe School - Credit: Colchester & Ipswich Hospitals Charity

The walk was sponsored by Lion Walk Shopping Centre in Colchester.  

Martin Leatherdale, centre manager, said: “It was great to sponsor this event. We have worked with Colchester and Ipswich hospitals for many years now. The selfless work they do, especially through the pandemic, means they are all heroes to us. 

 “It was an incredible hike and a pleasure to be involved. Well done to all the Hospital Hero Hikers!” 

Walkers taking a break at the Lambe School

Walkers taking a break at the Lambe School - Credit: Colchester & Ipswich Hospitals Charity