The inaugural Bath Men’s Walk has proved such a success that organisers are already planning on making it a yearly event.
Altogether 262 men took part in the eight-mile walk, starting from the Dorothy House hospice in Winsley and finishing at Bath’s Recreation Ground.
Bath rugby players Simon Taylor and Stephen Donald opened the event and walkers were rewarded at the finishing line with a refreshing pint, a hot pie and the chance to watch England win their Six Nations clash with France.
Organiser Philippa Watson said: “We have had really positive feedback and the men are already talking about being involved next year and bringing more friends.
“We are very pleased with how it went and it was nice to see the men engaging about their experiences on the day.”
The event was formed because men marshalling the women-only Midnight Walk would often ask the hospice if there were any events for them.
Communication manager Jenny Steele said: ‘It is great to have an event specifically for men and they certainly did us proud. We hope the men’s walk will become a regular event in the Bath calendar. Thank you to everyone who took part and made it such a great day.”
Jayson Dellow and Nick Hardy walked for Team Lizzie, in memory of Jayson’s sister-in-law Lizzie Dellow, who died of cancer in January and was cared for at Dorothy House.
They crossed the finish line first, after two hours, while others took a more leisurely approach, some stopping for refreshment in the George Inn.
Mr Dellow, 47, from Bath, said: “It was a joyous day, touched with sadness, and there were 50 of our friends and family in the team. Everyone shared their stories and all our wives and partners met us at the end.
“It was a good opportunity to all do something, because there isn’t much for men.”
Staff from Wiltshire-based funeral directors H Merrett arrived just in time to watch the Six Nations clash. Corsham branch manager Aaron Merrett, one of the six-strong team from local funeral firms, said: “Like many of those involved with Dorothy House, we at Merrett’s Funeral Directors meet individuals and families at difficult times. We see first-hand what excellent work Dorothy House does to support people at the end of their lives and we wanted to do something to sustain that vital work.”
Mr Merrett has pledged to walk 1,000 miles this year for the hospice, and is training for the Bath Half Marathon.
He said: “It costs about £7,000 to support the work of the hospice for a day and I wanted to raise as much money as I could.”
The Merretts team raised over £650 for the appeal. The walk was raising money for Dorothy House Hospice and Bath Rugby. All participants were expected to collect at least £50 and organisers set a target of £20,000.