Pensioner Jacqueline Day will be hoping it’s third time lucky later this month when she finally takes on a challenge that has eluded her for nearly 50 years.
The 78-year-old from Froxfield will be walking on fire at the Alexandra House Hotel, Wroughton, on October 28 in a Halloween-themed fundraising event for Prospect Hospice. The firewalk sees participants being sponsored to walk barefoot over burning embers, at temperatures that can reach almost 800 degrees centigrade.
For many it will simply be the chance to take on an unusual challenge to raise much-needed funds for a local good cause, but for Mrs Day it will be the completion of an experience that she first encountered in the 1960s.
“It’s strange, but it almost seems like fate that I would one day walk on fire,” said Mrs Day. “On several occasions in my life the chance has come up, but for one reason or another it has never happened.
“Back in the 60s, I was living in Panang, Malaya with my husband, who was serving with the Australian Air Force. One day, I was invited to take part in the Hindu fire festival, Thaipusam, but even though I really wanted to take part, I was a little scared and unfortunately chickened out at the last minute.
“Then, during the 80s I lived in America, and was again offered the opportunity to take part in a firewalk. But it was 200 dollars to take part and I had the excuse that I was going home the next day and didn’t want to risk injury for the flight.
“But I’ve often wondered about what it would have been like to do it. In my life I have had many inexplicable experiences, and I firmly believe there is more to the mind and body that we can ever imagine. Which is why when I was in the Prospect Hospice shop in Hungerford a few weeks ago and saw the poster for the event I decided on the spot that I had to do it.
“Not only that, but I have had five loved ones die of cancer, and I would have loved for them to have experienced the care that hospices give. So I will be looking to raise as much money as I can for this very worthy cause.”
The event also includes a halloween party for family and friends with traditional festive activities including apple-bobbing and a pumpkin carving competition. Last year’s firewalk raised nearly £8,000 towards the costs of the hospice, which looks after 1,850 patients and their families in the local area every year.