Hikers go the extra mile in the inaugural Folkestone Downs Challenge!

Over 350 keen hikers and runners laced up their boots on Saturday 3 September 2022 to embark on Pilgrims Hospices’ brand-new fundraiser, the Folkestone Downs Challenge.

The sun was shining as supporters tackled the 36km course, specifically designed to showcase the spectacular scenery of Kent’s South coast including breathtaking views over the English Channel, Folkestone and Romney Marsh beyond. The day was a huge success and early estimations are that more than £50,000 has been raised for local end-of-life care services in east Kent! 

Over 11,500km were collectively hiked by Pilgrims supporters on the day; the equivalent of walking from London to Bangkok, Thailand!

Robert Grew, Events Manager said: “We are absolutely delighted that so many supporters joined us in hiking for hospice care, and to have smashed our anticipated fundraising target is brilliant. The money raised will be helping to provide specialist palliative care services for the people of east Kent on Pilgrims’ wards, Therapy Centres and within the community.”

Supporters were advised to train to take on this tough and hilly challenge, and their preparations and determination paid off as they were welcomed back to applause and a well-deserved medal at the vibrant Folkestone Harbour Arm finish line.

It proved to be an extra special day for couple Sophie Thompson and Naomi Lengyel, who crossed the finish line engaged, after popping the question as the sun was setting over Sandgate beach. 

Sophie Thompson and Naomi Lengyel, who got engaged during the event


Robert added: “We’ve had great feedback already from our amazing participants. Our team of staff and volunteers work really hard to ensure we have plenty of support along the route and well-stocked refreshment stops to keep spirits up throughout the day. I would like to thank all of the volunteers who help to make our events so special, we couldn’t do this without them.”

Check out a full set of event photos on the Pilgrims Hospices Facebook page.

This year alone, Pilgrims Hospices has to raise £11 million through voluntary donations and fundraising activities in order to run its full range of services. Sponsorship raised through events like this help the charity to continue caring for local people, and their families, as they near the end of their lives.