Hilary walks one thousand miles for hospice to remember parents

Hilary did some of her walking on the North Norfolk coast.

Hilary did some of her walking on the North Norfolk coast. - Credit: HILARY HOLMES

An inspiring woman from Godmanchester walked 1,000 miles last year to raise funds for a Sue Ryder hospice in memory of her parents – and has decided to walk another 1,000 miles this year.

Hilary Holmes, 54, stepped out almost every day in 2021 to cover the equivalent distance from Land’s End to John O’Groats.

In a touching tribute to her loved ones, she walked in all weathers and took a photo of her journey each month through the changing seasons.

Hilary Holmes walked in all weathers to complete her 1,000 miles for charity.

Hilary Holmes walked in all weathers to complete her 1,000 miles for charity. - Credit: HILARY HOLMES

To date, Hilary has raised £2,903 for Sue Ryder St John’s Hospice in memory of her parents, Dave and Rosemary Sharman. Dave was cared for at the Moggerhanger Hospice in 2018 and Rosemary in 2021.

Hilary said: The idea came from a challenge to walk 1,000 miles in a year that I saw in a magazine. My mum had just had a hospital appointment and the news wasn’t good. I thought the challenge would give me something else to focus on. I signed up and started walking. My husband Geoff did the challenge too although we didn’t always walk together. Each time I hit a milestone – such as 100 miles – my mum and I would make a donation to Sue Ryder St John’s Hospice.

“I did most of the walking in and around my local area of Godmanchester. I enjoy walking by Godmanchester Lock, and round Portholme Meadow. Grafham Water and the woods is another of our favourite spots. I also managed to do some walking on the beaches around North Norfolk when we went on holiday.

“I walked nearly every day, only missing a few days due to illness. I was out in all weathers – I don’t mind being out in the rain, but find battling strong winds not quite so enjoyable!

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“I finished the walk of 1,000 miles on Christmas Eve 2021. It was bittersweet, as my mum had died only nine days before. I was pleased to finish the challenge but it was sad as I couldn’t tell mum. It meant a lot to mum that I was raising money for the hospice.

“Fundraising for Sue Ryder St John’s Hospice was the least I could do. The hospice looked after my mum and dad with so much compassion and respect. I wanted to give something back to Sue Ryder to show them how grateful we are for the care and support they provided us.”

Dave and Rosemary Sharman were both looked after at St John's Hospice in Moggerhanger.

Dave and Rosemary Sharman were both looked after at St John's Hospice in Moggerhanger. - Credit: HILARY HOLMES

Hilary is not stopping there – she’s already started a fresh challenge to walk a further 1,000 miles during 2022 and so far has not missed one day of walking.

She is also planning to complete a 10k walk or run with her best friend Vicky to raise funds and has already signed up for the PaintRush 5k in June. Last year, Hilary ran her first 5k at the 2021 Bedford Running Festival.

She added: “Walking is helping me with my grief for mum. It gives me some head space – I can clear my head or think things through. It’s good for my wellbeing. I’d urge anyone to get out there and try it. You meet some lovely people along the way and it feels good to be involved with a cause that’s so worthwhile.”

Jo Landucci, senior community fundraiser at Sue Ryder St John’s Hospice, said: “From all of us at Sue Ryder St John’s Hospice, a very special thank you to Hilary for making great strides and for your on-going support of our hospice. The crucial funds and awareness you have raised helps to ensure we can continue to provide our compassionate care to other local families when they need us the most.”

Sue Ryder St John's Hospice is searching for local businesses to take part in a volunteering opportunity spending a day volunteering in its peaceful gardens

To find out more, email: joanne.landucci@sueryder.org or call: 07811 535923.