700 step out to support Rowcroft’s ‘The Big Tackle’

Categories: Care and Fundraising.

In an inspiring display of community support, over 700 participants gathered on Saturday 9 March for Rowcroft Hospice’s annual fundraising event, ‘The Big Tackle’, which kicked off from Torquay Rugby Club.

Formerly known as ‘The Male Trail,’ this eight-mile walk around Torbay brought together individuals from across South  Devon to contribute nearly £90,000 to Rowcroft Hospice.

With many participants walking in memory of their loved ones, the event drew attention to the crucial issues surrounding grief and bereavement that touch us all. Funds raised from the event will be used to deliver specialist palliative and end-of- life care to patients across South Devon, as well as bereavement support to loved ones.

Scotland international and Exeter Chiefs’ rugby legend Jonny Gray was there to cheer everyone on. He said: “The atmosphere today is wonderful. It’s fantastic to see so many people getting behind The Big Tackle and supporting this great cause. I’m so proud to be a part of it.”

Award-winning chef and restaurateur Mitch Tonks completed the eight-mile walk. He said: “The atmosphere on the start line was electric; there was so much energy and there was a lovely community feeling. Seeing 700 people turn up with their own personal testimonies to those they’ve lost was actually really emotional.“The hospice is an extraordinary piece of our community and I’m here to support it. I’ve had three very dear friends who have been cared for by Rowcroft.”

The Big Tackle’s top fundraiser was Keith Durbridge, 75, from Paignton, who raised £4,256 for the hospice. “I’m walking in memory of my late-wife Judith who died ten years ago,” said Keith. “Judith received palliative care at home from Rowcroft. The hospice provided an unbelievable service, not just caring for Judith but for all the family and providing bereavement counselling for my daughter.”

Jon Scott, 39, from Paignton and his eight-year daughter Eva Scott also completed the eight-mile circuit, raising a terrific £300. “We’ve had such a great day,” said Jon. “My nan was cared for at the hospice. The care teams did such an amazing job and made sure that she was peaceful and comfortable until the end. It’s great to see so many people out supporting the hospice today; it highlights the amazing community spirit among the people here.”

‘Kieran’s Krusty Krackers’ team from left to right: Steve Ryan, Phil Rowe, Mike Hocking, Chris Byrne, Jimmy Northcott, Mike Ryan

Chris Byrne, 64, and his team of ‘Kieran’s Krusty Krackers’ from Newton Abbot walked in memory of their friends Kieran Dove and Chris Cally. “We lost Kieran and Chris in the pandemic and they were both cared for by Rowcroft Hospice,” said Chris. “As a group, we’ve all been friends for ages and we love going along to watch Exeter Chiefs’ matches together. We’ve raised £269 for the hospice, with more money still coming in.”

Alexia Croft, Rowcroft’s Events Manager, said: “We’d like to say a massive thank you to all the incredible legends who took part in The Big Tackle to raise essential funds for the hospice. The weather was atrocious but it didn’t stop our walkers! It was truly heartwarming to see everyone on the move, with many dedicating their strides to loved ones lost. The day provided a beautiful opportunity to ‘walk and talk,’ to remember and honour those special people who they miss, and to create lasting connections with friends and family along the eight-mile route.

“Our gratitude also goes to Torquay Rugby Club for generously hosting the event and screening the Six Nations Rugby, and we give special thanks to our fantastic sponsors WBW Solicitors, Torbay Clearance Services, and Bays Brewery for their amazing support, and to Caterfood for providing the pasties.”

Bays Brewery Director Peter Salmon said: “As a local family run business, we’re delighted to support Rowcroft Hospice by sponsoring The Big Tackle. It’s been an awesome day and it’s been fantastic to see so many people coming together to support their local hospice, and we’d love everyone to sign up again for next year. To register your interest, please go to thebigtackle.org.uk

Rowcroft offers a range of other fundraising opportunities ranging from stand-up paddleboarding, cycling, skydiving, wing-walking, and trekking in The Alps, the Jurassic Coast, and Mount Snowdon.

For more information about Rowcroft’s events, visit www.rowcrofthospice.org.uk/events or call 01803 217450. Your participation can make a huge difference, supporting Rowcroft to provide compassionate end-of-life care and essential emotional support to those in need.


Cover photo:  Rob Glenning, 68, from Brixham walked with his twin sons Rich and Alistair, 33, in memory of Grandad John who died from bone cancer in 1998.


About Rowcroft Hospice

It takes time, compassion, medical expertise and money to help patients and families make the most of every day, but every year Rowcroft Hospice helps around 2,500 people living with life-limiting illnesses in South Devon to do just that.

By providing comfort, support and specialist services, the hospice enables families to share precious and joyful moments when they are needed most – whether it’s a beautiful wedding, remarkable reunion, simple thank you or gentle cuddle.

From Dartmouth to Dawlish and up onto Dartmoor, Rowcroft cares for 80% of its patients in their own homes with a team of community nurse specialists, social workers, and bereavement volunteers. The team also provides occupational therapy, physiotherapy, complementary therapy, spiritual care and music therapy, delivering a holistic approach tailored to individual needs.

Day and night, Rowcroft’s award-winning Hospice at Home team provide free specialist support to patients at home in their last few of weeks of life. The team helps to monitor and manage symptoms to enable patients to be comfortable and also offers support for loved ones, enabling carers to take much needed breaks.

The service includes a dedicated telephone support line 24 hrs a day.In Rowcroft’s 12-bedded Inpatient Unit in Torquay, the hospice’s team provides specialist care for patients whose complex needs cannot be met at home. Along with high quality health and social care, we also offer delicious homecooked meals and access to our beautiful gardens. The welcoming and homely environment helps patients and families to make the most of precious time together.

Rowcroft is an independent charity with around 75% of its funding derived from the incredible generosity of local people. The hospice team fully acknowledges the current challenging economic climate and is grateful for the local community’s continued support through these tough times; every pound raised makes a real difference.

With an increasingly ageing local population, the demand for Rowcroft’s care has never been greater. The charity currently cares for around one in three people with life-limiting illnesses across South Devon and has ambitious plans to expand its care to reach more people.

For more information, please visit www.rowcrofthospice.org.uk or contact Shala Weeks, Marketing Projects Manager, on (01803) 210 846 or email weekss@rowcrofthospice.org.uk

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