500 individuals across Bath, Somerset and Wiltshire are about to put on their walking boots for The Forever Friends Appeal’s popular annual event: the “Walk of Life” this Saturday 13th May, to help raise funds to transform care for patients and their families at Bath’s Royal United Hospital.

The Forever Friends Appeal are the primary charity for Bath’s Royal United Hospital who raise vital funds for all wards and departments at the hospital, including their major RUH Cancer Care Campaign, raising a minimum of £8.5 million towards an exceptional  new Cancer Centre at the RUH.

The Walk of Life is a positive walk to celebrate life, created with and in memory of Vanessa Kyte. Every year in May, the Walk of Life sees hundreds of people across Bath, Somerset and Wiltshire walk along the Kennet and Avon Canal from Devizes to Bath, raising funds to help transform patient care at the RUH. New for this year, the 2017 Walk of Life will challenge participants to walk a full marathon (26.2 miles) or alternatively 10 miles in the afternoon, along the beautiful Kennet & Avon Canal. Spaces on the event are no longer available, with places selling out back in March – a first in the event’s history!

Events & Community Officer for The Forever Friends Appeal, Emily Lynch, comments:  “We are so grateful to everyone across Bath, Somerset and Wiltshire for supporting the 2017 Walk of Life and making it a sold out event!  We’re very excited for Saturday’s event and can’t wait to congratulate our walkers when they reach the finish line in Bath! Last year’s event raised over £40,000 to help transform care for patients at the RUH – we hope to beat this total in 2017”

Legendary Glastonbury Festival Founder Michael Eavis CBE is the Ambassador of the 2017 Walk of Life, and will attend the start of the event’s new marathon route at 7.30am in Bishops Cannings to meet and greet walkers, before cutting the official starting ribbon at 8am to see walkers on their way along the canal.

Michael says, “The Royal United Hospital in Bath has always been close to my heart, having myself received excellent treatment there in past years. Since 2005 Glastonbury festival has supported The Forever Friends Appeal with various fundraising activities, including our pre-Glastonbury staff annual skittles match”.

The event’s new 26.2 mile route starts at The Crown Inn Pub, situated within the picturesque village of Bishops Cannings, just outside of Devizes. Walkers will depart from The Crown Inn at 8am to travel along the canal, via Bradford on Avon to end at the iconic Holburne Museum in Bath. Some walkers have opted to walk a shorter 10 mile route in the afternoon – from Bradford on Avon to Bath.

Walkers can choose to dedicate their fundraising to the RUH Cancer Care Campaign, or an RUH ward or department of their choice.

Once again the Appeal are thrilled to be working with Kier Construction on the event, who have sponsored the Walk of Life for the past 3 years and who are also working in partnership with the RUH Bath NHS Trust on the redevelopment of the hospital site.

BBC reporter and presenter for Points West Ali Vowles will also be attending Victory Fields in Bradford on Avon to mark the start of the Afternoon 10 mile challenge and see walkers on their way.

The Appeal are now encouraging the general public to attend the event’s finishing location, situated on the front lawn of the Holburne Museum, Bath to cheer walkers across the finishing line!