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Hospice Run 2023: Fitness, fundraising and memories

Runners pass the band at Hospice Run

More than 900 runners of all ages put their best foot forward to share fun, fitness and memories at Hospice Run 23 in the heart of Tunbridge Wells on Sunday (17th). From toddling legs to seasoned running pros, supporters gave their all for Hospice in the Weald, taking part in the new Family Fun Run and half marathon, along with the classic 5k and 10k routes.

Special guest Paralympian Will Bayley gave rousing words of encouragement to the crowd, explaining that the Hospice is close to his heart as family members had benefitted from its care, while local trainer and Hospice Ambassador ospice Hospice Ollie McCarthy got everyone limbered up with a group warm up.

Runners set off to the stirring sounds of Old School Samba as they left Lower Common with crowds lining the streets to cheer them on along the way. Commentary and music came courtesy of Lee, from DJs and Bands, while a bouncy castle and array of food and refreshment stalls at the event village kept everyone fuelled and entertained.

There were emotional scenes at the finish line as participants celebrated their achievements and the lives of loved ones who had received Hospice care. Sisters Lottie, Olivia and Issy Ramsey were part of ‘Sue’s Jovials’, a team of family and friends who together ran the 10k route in memory of their mum Sue Ramsey, cared for at the Hospice in October 2021. They have already raised over £3,000 with funds still coming in.

Lottie said: “We wanted a challenge, to come together with our close friends and family to do it for Mum. After everything Mum went through, we wanted to put in some hard work and give back for the incredible care she received at the Hospice in Pembury.”

Issy added: “We were also able to stay overnight with Mum at the Hospice and bring our dog Marnie too, which made all the difference. Mum did the 10k route about five years ago, in memory of her own mum, also cared for at the Hospice, so we did it for our grandma and our mum. Taking part in events like this are so important as it keeps Mum’s memory alive and helps us to feel closer to her.”

Meanwhile, the new Half Marathon route was the fourth fundraising challenge that dedicated supporter Hanna Pepe has clocked up for the Hospice in the past six months. Hanna took part in London Landmark’s Half Marathon in April, Moonlight Walk in June, and two weeks ago returned from trekking Mont Blanc, all in memory of beloved father Steve, who was cared for at the Hospice.

 “It was a challenging course but the sense of achievement and seeing my family at the end was amazing. There was such a sense of community and togetherness – Groombridge was incredible with families coming out in the streets – and I was thinking of my Dad the whole way around!”

Hanna has already raised more than £4,000 through her collective endeavours and has set her sights on even greater fundraising challenges, including climbing Mount Toubkal next year, Mount Kilimanjaro the year after and Everest Base camp in 2026. She said: “My dad was my hero. He was my confidant and reality checker, he was honest and my respect for him reaches higher than any mountain I will ever climb.”

Jesse Ansbro-Brett, Relationship Manager at Hospice in the Weald said: “Thank you so much to all who helped to make Hospice Run 23 such an incredible event. That includes every single runner, our donors, ambassadors, staff, volunteers and all the local people and businesses who so generously supported this special community event.

“More than £91,000 has already been raised with funds still coming in. Every penny will help Hospice in the Weald to continue to make a vital difference to the lives of those in our community facing terminal illness and their loved ones.”