In April, 75 people walked a 10-mile route starting and ending at Esher Rugby Club to raise awareness of the Hospice’s vital bereavement services.
The event sought to reach out to men in particular, who, research has proven, often find it difficult to talk about life and death, share emotions and seek help and support when they need it.
The walkers, wearing their Talk the Walk t-shirts, included 13 teams – the largest team, named Walk About, consisted of 19 people, all family members of different generations, and the youngest walker was a 12-year-old boy whose mum was cared for by the Hospice.
Other participants and volunteers travelled from as far as Manchester and Essex to take part or support the event.
As many people met for the first time, conversation flowed and new friendships were forged. The route started at Esher Rugby Club in Hersham, past the Barley Mow pub and through Whiteley Village to the Avorian Cricket Club and Cobham Rugby Club, back around Garsons and the Hospice, finishing at Esher Rugby Club. Once there, everyone gathered to watch the Esher v Bury St Edmunds rugby match while having a well-earned drink with a burger.
Leader of Surrey County Council, Tim Oliver, whose daughter, Emily, died at the Hospice in 2019, was interviewed by BBC Radio Surrey shortly before he set off for the walk with his son, James. He said:
“Talk the Walk is about raising the profile of Princess Alice Hospice and also its bereavement services, and trying to encourage men to talk. One in three men doesn’t access any sort of bereavement support. It’s good to talk and to know there is support available to help get through difficult times.
“The Hospice is a fantastic charity which needs to raise more than £10 million each year just to fund the work that it does. It’s really important that people know about the important work they do.”
Claire Woodward, Community Partnerships and Events Lead at the Hospice, said:
“The atmosphere was amazing. Mostly guys, and some brave women too, walked shoulder to shoulder along the route in the glorious sunshine. It was a lovely day and we’re so pleased we managed to smash our £30,000 target (£31,378 and counting).
“I’d like to give huge thank yous to our Hospice Man Shed volunteers who made bespoke medals for everyone who took part and to our wonderfully generous corporate supporters for helping to make the event such a great success – Esher Rugby Club, Whiteley Village, Cobham Rugby Club, Barley Mow Pub (Hersham), Avorian Cricket Club, Garsons, Family Building Society and Lodge Brothers. We are immensely grateful.”
About Princess Alice Hospice: For Compassion. For Excellence. For People. For Living.
Princess Alice Hospice has, for more than 35 years, provided free, high-quality, specialist end of life care to tens of thousands of people across a large part of Surrey, south west London and Middlesex. Today, at any one time, Hospice nurses, doctors and other specialist staff are looking after more than 900 people in need. The Hospice’s mission is to reach out to even more people by delivering outstanding care to those that need it. To enable us to do this, we must rely on the commitment and support of our communities who help us to raise vital funds.
£10.1 million is needed each year to provide our vital services. With limited NHS funding provided by CCGs, which represents circa 24% of our expenditure on charitable activities, in more normal times, the balance is raised through legacies, fundraising, dedicated shop units and investments. It is only the generous support of our communities and beyond, that makes it possible to do our work.