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Friday, 30 July 2021
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Walkers reunited in Francis House hospice walking challenge

AFTER a year of cancelled fundraising events, Francis House Children’s Hospice was delighted to reunite with supporters for the return of the Cheshire Three Peaks Challenge.

Unable to go ahead in 2020, the popular annual event was much missed by regular attendees and much anticipated by supporters who had developed a new-found love for walking during the lockdown.

A blustery morning was not enough to deter the 116 walkers who took to the hills surrounding Tegg’s Nose Country Park, Macclesfield, in support of their local children’s hospice.

Among them, eight-year-old Kira Callaghan, who tackled the shorter but no less demanding 6.5-mile route.

Accompanied by her mum Nicola and dad John, Kira from High Peak had been missing her grandad Brian Abbott after being kept apart by lockdowns.

Brian, 74, normally walks the more challenging 13.6-mile route with his friend Danny Huddart, but as Kira wanted to go with them, they happily opted for the family-friendly route.

Kira said:

“It was so special to walk with grandad as I have missed him during the lockdown. We used to call past the house on a ‘family safari’, where we would wave from the car, but we didn’t get to see him properly for ages. We went for a walk at Easter for a little while, but I have not had time alone with him since Christmas 2020.

“I do lots of walking with my mum and dad, we have climbed lots of the local peaks, including Kinder Scout, but I haven’t done the Macclesfield walk before. This was my first time raising money for charity, and Francis House helps poorly children.”

Brian, from Glossop, said:

“I am very proud of Kira she is a delight to be with and enjoys trying to beat me in everything we do.

“We used to meet very regularly until Covid, and I took her to school two days a week.  The last year has been very difficult not being able to enjoy her company, so walking together on the Cheshire Three Peaks challenge made my day.”

To top off their grand day out, Kira and her clan scooped the victory for the highest score on the Scavenger Hunt, which adds an extra challenge to the family-friendly route.

Kira added:

“I enjoyed seeing all the lovely wildflowers, the forest bit, and the Scavenger hunt was great fun. I loved the clues and looking for the answers. I would like to do the long walk next year but will need to practice first.”

The family raised £320 in sponsorship.

Michelle Stokes, community champion at Morrisons in Cheadle Heath, signed up for the challenge after agreeing to donate bottled water for the checkpoints. Michelle from Reddish assembled a team of colleagues and friends, who together completed the 13.6-mile route in 8 hours, raising £371.

Michelle Stokes (2nd from left) walked 13.6 miles with friends and colleagues to raise funds for Francis House.

She said:

“It was the best day ever; it was very challenging, but we enjoyed every minute of it.”

The Francis House Cheshire Three Peaks challenge has so far helped to raise more than £11,500 for the Didsbury based hospice that supports the families of children with life-limiting and life-threatening conditions from Greater Manchester.

Participants in the Francis House Cheshire Three Peaks challenge

Rachel Astill, fundraising officer at Francis House, said:

“Well done to Kira for her excellent scavenging skills, and a huge congratulations to all the supporters who braved the challenge this year. We were so pleased to receive such a great turn-out after our Covid hiatus, and it was lovely to be face-to-face once again with supporters, safely in the open air!”

To take part in a Francis House event, please visit: www.francishouse.org.uk/getinvolved.

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