My View, Mel Hewitt - Taking her hat off to walkers

Walkers in the Yorkshire Dales, many of whom attempt the 3 Peaks Challenge.

Walkers in the Yorkshire Dales, many of whom attempt the 3 Peaks Challenge.

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The Yorkshire Dales have been the backdrop to many a drama. From All Creatures Great and Small to Calendar Girls, The Dales have been an inspiring location.

Writers, artists and kings have lived and worked here, fine ale and miraculously tasty cheese has been made and courageous farmers and their families have survived many a hard winter in a landscape that has shaped their lives.

Buttertubs Pass, Aysgarth Falls, melancholy Middleham Castle once home to Richard III, Market Day in Masham – The Dales have more than their fair share of beauty and awe inspiring power – a power that deserves respect and has caught out many a casual walker and experienced climber alike.

Just over a week ago a team of walkers – 74 in all – faced the Yorkshire Three Peaks Challenge. Many of them were raising money for our Development Appeal.

The walking team, made up of RDaSH staff, their family and friends, took on the tough steep peaks of Pen-y-ghent, Whernside and Ingelborough. The circular route covered over 26 miles and at its highest point on Whernside a height of 728 metres.

Organised by Neal Kerner, from RDaSH, who was supported by family and friends, the event kicked off at 6.30am with the first walkers striding out on their journey, and it finished at 10.45pm as the last walkers crossed the finish line.

The unseasonably hot weather didn’t make the task any easier, on a day that also featured a flock of sheep blocking the road and the last walkers being guided down from Ingelborough in the dark.

Blisters, bruised knees and fatigue didn’t stop the enjoyment though and I’m sure only added to the sense of achievement, crowned with the satisfaction of hundreds of pounds raised for the hospice.

I really take my hat off to these fantastic walkers. This challenge can take up to 12 hours and takes real stamina and heart to achieve. I’m often humbled and inspired by the wonderful things people do – either on their own or as part of a team – to help others who need support daily from the hospice team.

The hospice is a remarkable place and it does seem to move people to do great things that really make a difference. Not a day goes by in my office at the St John’s Information and Support Centre without a call of thanks or a message from someone asking what can I do to help the hospice?

One of the things I was really keen to make happen when I became Community Fundraiser was to encourage people of all ages to get involved in our events. I’m delighted to say that on Sunday, June 8, there’s a real opportunity to do this with the first ever Hospice Fun Run at Woodfield Park, Tickhill Road Balby. At just over 1km it really is for everyone with the added fun of a craft fayre, bouncy castle, face painting and other activities. The fun starts at 11am.

* Mel Hewitt, Community Fundraiser, St John’s Hospice