More than 600 walkers took part in the award-winning Pilgrims Way Challenge charity walk on Saturday 11 June 2022. The event has raised £74,000 this year, with early estimations being that the event will exceed £90,000 for Pilgrims once all fundraising is counted.
With three distances to choose from, 25km, 35km or 55km, walkers of all fitness levels were able to enjoy the rural beauty of one of England’s oldest and least-trodden national trails.Starting from the picturesque village of Wye within the Kent Downs AONB, those taking part walked through the scenic Stour Valley, to historic Canterbury, and onwards to finish inside the inner bailey of Dover Castle, journeying through some of the most charming villages in Kent, whilst being surrounded by endless green fields, rolling hillside views, quiet country lanes, historic buildings and ancient woodlands.
This popular annual charity fundraising event goes from strength to strength, with hikers and runners joining from across east Kent and further afield, all of them passionate about their walking, and everyone raising money to support end-of-life care at Pilgrims Hospices and within the community.
The weather was glorious, as walkers started their mammoth challenge. New faces joined many returning supporters who know the event is well planned, with rest stops, snack stations and bundles of volunteers and staff to support and encourage them along the way.
Robert Grew, Pilgrims Events Manager said: “It was fantastic to welcome so many Pilgrims hikers to another sun-filled Pilgrims Way Challenge at the weekend. I’m in awe of their determination, and extraordinary efforts to march so many miles in support of the compassionate, end-of-life care that Pilgrims Hospices provide. They really stepped up to the challenge and I’d certainly say they’ve earned putting their feet up for a while! I’d also like to say a big thank you to the many dedicated staff and volunteers, without whom the event couldn’t take place. Their boundless enthusiasm and friendly smiles kept participants going all the way to the finish.”
One walking (if not staggering) event statistic is, those taking part jointly achieved an incredible 21,475 kilometres on the day. That’s the equivalent of walking from London to Rome 7 times!
Linda Macdonald from Folkestone completed the 35 km route. She said:
“The walk was so well organised and the volunteer teams cheered us on, fed and watered the participants too. All with good humour and encouragement. It was a hot day, but the various churches along the route offered tranquillity and shade. Thank you all for such a great event.”
Pilgrims Hospices cares for thousands of local people each year, free of charge, during the most challenging time in their lives. They offer care and support in people’s own homes, in the community and in their inpatient units as well as running a 24-hour advice line.
25th June 2019
Hundreds walk the Pilgrims Way for hospice care
Wye, Canterbury and Dover were buzzing with cheerful voices on Saturday 22 June as more than 600 happy walkers gathered on the Pilgrims Way Challenge charity fundraising walk.
Early estimations are that the event will raise more than £90,000 for Pilgrims Hospices!
Walkers enjoyed a 25km 35km or 55km hike through the beautiful rural countryside along one of England’s oldest and least trodden national trails. Young and old alike took to the rolling fields and picturesque villages along the Pilgrims Way to the historic city of Canterbury and onwards to a coastal finish at Dover Castle.
The Pilgrims sponsored walkers collectively walked over 21,500km between them, the equivalent of walking from Land’s End to John O’Groats more than five times!
In true Pilgrims style, walkers were supported throughout the journey with well-stocked rest stops where walkers could take a welcome break in the grounds of some of Kent’s amazing and historic churches. Delicious cakes, sandwiches and strawberry teas were a welcome treat at Chartham Hatch and a hot meal at the Canterbury hospice for walkers who were finishing the 25km route. For those who undertook the 35km and 55km routes, Pilgrims staff and volunteers welcomed the walkers with snacks and treats in Patrixbourne, Womenswold and Waldershare before reaching their final destination and a hot supper at Dover Castle.
Every walker is an inspriation and it’s our pleasure to support them every step of the way.
Robert Grew, Pilgrims Hospices
All participants received a medal in recognition of their fantastic achievement.
Robert Grew, Pilgrims Events Manager, said: “It was incredible to see so many people turning out to walk the Pilgrims Way Challenge in support of our end-of-life care. It was an enjoyable but tough day for all, especially with how warm it was in the sun, and with a bit of determination, the finish was finally reached.
“Every single walker is an inspiration and it’s our pleasure to support them every step of the way on the challenge as they raise vital funds for Pilgrims Hospices. The money they raise enables Pilgrims to continue caring for more than 2,400 people and their families each year, providing comfort, alleviating pain and enabling them to live well in the time they have.
“Our thanks go to everyone who took part in making the Pilgrims Way Challenge such a success – including our fantastic team of volunteers!”
The Pilgrims Way Challenge will return on Saturday 20 June 2020.
Care is provided from three hospice sites in Ashford, Canterbury, and Thanet as well as in patients’ own homes. To offer these services to patients and their families the charity must raise £11 million each year from the generous local community.
13th June 2019
Start your summer on the right foot
New and seasoned walkers alike will be lacing up their walking boots to join the Pilgrims Way Challenge on Saturday 22 June. With over 450 walkers already registered, the sponsored hiking event takes in the rural beauty of one of England’s oldest and least trodden national trails. With the success of the event last year, Pilgrims can now offer three distances, 25km, 35km and 55km; perfect for people of all fitness levels.
In true Pilgrims Hospices style, walkers will be supported throughout the journey with regular, friendly rest stops for food and water, a fully signed route, and medical support.
Hannah Sole, Pilgrims Hospices Supporter Relations Team Leader, and her family will be taking part again this year. Hannah said: “This is such a wonderful challenge. My friends and family enjoyed it so much last year, we decided to get involved again! Everyone was so encouraging, we met some lovely people along the way and visited some perfect rest stops where we had plenty of time to relax and grab a snack or two.
“You need to apply a little effort in some parts of the route, but the rewards are amazing. It’s a great achievement and all of the money raised from registration and sponsorship will provide care for people who need Pilgrims help.”
If you would like to join Hannah and supporters who have already registered, please visit pilgrimswaychallenge.org where you’ll find full details.
Standard entry is £30 until 16 June 2019, or you can sign up on the day for £45.
This fully supported event includes regular rest stops with drinks and snacks, a fully signed route, event t-shirt and a hot meal at our Canterbury hospice (the halfway point for 55km hikers) and at the Dover Castle finish.
By taking part, you’ll be helping Pilgrims Hospices to continue with the work that is so import within the east Kent community.
Each year Pilgrims Hospices give care and comfort to over 2,400 people in East Kent coming to terms with an illness that sadly cannot be cured. The charity support patients to live life as well as possible until the very end, free from pain and distress. Click here to find out how we help.