Supporters of local children’s charity Shooting Star Children’s Hospices quite literally rose to the ultimate challenge at the weekend, taking on the iconic Twickenham Stadium and its thousands of steps to raise vital funds for the families the charity support.
The Stadium Challenge, the first of its kind in England tasked participants to step up and climb thousands of steps raising nearly £40,000 and counting so far. The event was the charity’s biggest climbing challenge to date and marked the first time Twickenham Stadium has ever hosted such an event.
A total of 272 participants passed through the hallowed tunnel into the stadium to embark on their chosen route. The three different routes meant the challenge could be enjoyed by a wide range of ages and abilities. From the youngest participant, baby Jack, who at just a few months old, stayed cosy in his buggy as he and his family took on the accessible family route around the pitch; to the oldest participant, 82-year-old Tony, a stalwart supporter of the charity who took on the classic route of 3,200 steps with his nine-year-old neighbour Hugo.
There were even some international supporters as seasoned challengers flew the 5,556 miles from Mexico to take on the challenge. The pair completed the Ultra route, which covered all three tiers of the stadium and the 7,600 steps in under an hour!
With no time limit, participants could take on the routes at their own pace, allowing them to take in the amazing atmosphere of one of the world’s most iconic surroundings. From groups, individuals, friends and families, this year’s Stadium Challengers (some donning brilliant outfits) smiled and cheered their way through the routes.
Mandy, who took on the classic route with her son’s Dan and Joe, did it in memory of family friend Jess who received end-of-life care and support from Shooting Star Children’s Hospices. Jess sadly died in September last year, just a month before her 11th birthday. Despite never taking on a challenge like it, Mandy channelled Jess’ mantra.
“If anyone was worried about her or feeling anxious Jess would say to us ‘Don’t worry it’s a waste of a day – so stop.’ So that’s what we did when we took the challenge on, we loved it and can’t wait for next year!”
Once participants crossed the pitch side finish line, they had to ascend just a few more steps to reach the Royal box to celebrate their achievements and be presented with their official Stadium Challenge Finishers medal. Afterwards, enjoying a well-deserved hot lunch and massage to relieve those aching legs.
Emma Edwards, Challenge Events Fundraiser at Shooting Star Children’s Hospices said:
“We are so thrilled with the success of our first ever Stadium Challenge! Twickenham Stadium is such an iconic and impressive venue, so to be able to hold our challenge there and raise such a huge amount so far is amazing. We are so grateful to all our participants who stepped up and joined us, and to all those who donated and showed their support. Thanks to all our volunteers and everyone at Twickenham Stadium who were involved in making it happen.
“In the current financial climate, it’s becoming increasingly challenging to raise funds in order to continue to provide our service. We simply couldn’t provide the care that is so desperately needed to families across Surrey and London without our phenomenal supporters. The money raised at the Stadium Challenge will really help Shooting Star Children’s Hospices care for families coping with the truly unimaginable.”
If you’d like to step up to the challenge next year – you can register your interest here at www.shootingstar.org.uk/stadium-challenge/
To find out more about Shooting Star Children’s Hospices and the work they do visit www.shootingstar.org.uk