Staff from the Southampton General Hospital organised a sponsored walk to raise money for the Anthony Nolan Trust after one of their colleague’s children was diagnosed with Leukaemia. Phoebe is a three year old girl who lives in Waterlooville and is currently being treated in Bristol Hospital after she caught an infection following chemotherapy for the disease.

The sponsored walk was from St James Park in Southampton (near Southampton General Hospital) to Queen Alexandra Hospital (in Portsmouth) and was over 22 miles of varied terrain – a tough physical test for anyone. The Anthony Nolan Trust is a charity which raises awareness of Leukaemia and helps fund research into this disease. They also campaign to increase the number of bone marrow donors.

The event organisers agreed with Hampshire Fire Service that they could use the Fire Stations en-route as rest stops, and the Fire Service suggested that the Plymouth Brethren Christian Church Rapid Relief Team (RRT) might be able to help with some of the catering for the day. Once approached, the RRT were only too glad to help, and soon the organising was underway.

The RRT were anticipating catering for up to 100 people, so the event needed some careful management and planning; different RRT members from Southampton and Portsmouth worked together to co-ordinate the catering to ensure the day ran well. On the day, around 60 RRT volunteers were involved in the event.

The day started with a barbequed breakfast of bacon rolls and hot and cold drinks for the walkers at 6am; further refreshments were also provided at Hightown Fire Station a couple of hours later. Lunch was provided at Fareham Fire Station at midday, and the day culminated in a full barbeque meal at Cosham Fire Station in the evening.

Reporters from The News and the Daily Echo were present to provide coverage on the event, and there was also good publicity as the walkers collected money en-route as they went through shopping centres and high streets.

All of the walkers were waited on at the final meal by RRT volunteers, and other members of the PBCC provided music in the form of a live band which was greatly enjoyed by all.

Nearly £3500.00 was collected by sponsorship before the event, and over £800.00 was collected on the day, meaning well over £4000.00 was able to be donated to the Anthony Nolan Trust.

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