On Saturday 16 March, 411 men took to the streets of Torquay, walking 8 miles to raise funds for Rowcroft hospice. Despite the high winds and rain, there was a tremendously positive and high spirited atmosphere. It is hoped that the event will have raised in excess of £40,000 which will help Rowcroft provide care and support to patients and families living with life limiting illnesses across South Devon.
The walkers set off from Torquay Rugby Club following a haka style warm up, which was led by Adam Last, Head of PE at Torquay Boy’s Grammar School and Colts Coach at Torquay Rugby Club. The walk covered a number of conveniently located “watering holes” and tied in with the final day of the 6 Nations Rugby, which was shown across big screens in the hospitality marquee following the walk. All participants were welcomed back with a free pint to enjoy during the game, and a well-deserved hot pasty.
The 411 men were supported by a team of more than 100 passionate volunteers who generously gave up their Saturday to help the event run as safely and smoothly as possible.
Hilary Matthews volunteered at the registration tent, “I used to be a nurse for Rowcroft, it feels good to be able to come back to support the hospice. Considering this is the first event of its kind in Torquay this is an amazing turn out.”
Dave Hunt shared his experience of the event as a volunteer based at Torquay Rugby Club where the event started and finished. “The whole experience was such a “full on” event and covered a whole rollercoaster of emotions from joy to sadness – As this was the first event to enable males to celebrate the lives of family or friends who have been cared for by Rowcroft. These men and boys were now bonding, grieving and celebrating together.”
Dave continued: “One walker told me on his return to the Rugby Club, that “I cried as soon as I walked out of the gates”. Seeing men hugging each other before and after their 8 mile walk was amazing as it showed that this mass gathering on this male-targeted event enabled them to release these emotions.”
Terry Hutchings walked with six other friends and family members in memory of a loved one. “We are walking to say thank you for the fantastic care and support Rowcroft provides in our community. Today
is an opportunity to chat to other people who have had experiences with Rowcroft and also to support other family members.”
Mark Parrott walked in memory of his father who was cared for at Rowcroft’s Inpatient Unit. “I saw leaflets for The Male Trail at the hospice when I was visiting my father and there has been so much about The Male Trail on facebook. It’s only 8 miles which is quite manageable and you get a real sense of achievement afterwards.”
Feedback both on the day and across Rowcroft’s social media channels has also been extremely positive. One participant commented: “Just wanted to say a MASSIVE thank you to Rowcroft for organising this event. It was a superb day with lots of fun and giggles. A special thanks must go to the marshals who guided us in the cold, wind and rain, all with smiles on their faces. Thank you!”
Rowcroft’s Events Manager, Stewart Molyneux is thrilled with the amount raised for local patients and families in need of Rowcroft’s services.
“From my original idea to organise a male only event for Rowcroft, through to finally seeing the staff, volunteers and participants all coming together – it has been an exceptional example of a community coming together to make something incredible happen!
It’s always a little daunting trying something new, but we couldn’t have hoped for a better turn out. Everyone here at Rowcroft feels truly touched to see a new event be so warmly received with such passion and generosity from our local community. Every pound raised will help local families share precious moments with the people who mean everything to them. Thank you to all the men who signed up and fundraised, to all of our dedicated volunteers, to the local businesses who have been so generous and thank you to all of Rowcroft’s amazing female supporters who encouraged the men in their lives to become hospice heroes.”
Rowcroft’s hugely popular, female only charity walk, The Sleep Walk is taking place on Saturday 6 July. For more information and to register online, visit rowcroftsleepwalk.org.uk
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