More than 300 walkers lined the Kennet and Avon Canal towpath on Saturday as part of The Forever Friends Appeal’s annual Walk of Life, proudly sponsored by Kier Construction.
Walkers set off from Devizes Wharf at 9am, with many people completing the 21 miles to Bath, while others chose to walk 12 miles from Devizes to Bradford on Avon, or 9 miles in the afternoon from Bradford on Avon to Sydney Gardens in Bath.
The Walk of Life’s ninth year saw a record number of walkers sign up from across Bath, Somerset and Wiltshire with most people choosing to raise money for a pioneering new Cancer Centre at Royal United Hospital in Bath. Many people also took part in the Walk with family and friends to celebrate the lives and memories of their loved ones.
The Walk of Life was created with and in memory of Vanessa Kyte from Rudge, near Frome who lost her life in November 2007 having lived with cancer for seven years. Vanessa’s Kyte’s sister, Nicola Noble from Warminster, led this year’s Walk before walking the entire 21 miles to Bath. Nicola has been involved with the walk since it started in 2008 and both her and Vanessa’s mother Diane Young, are determined to help turn Vanessa’s dream of a new Cancer Centre for the hospital into reality.
One in three people are affected by cancer and everyday lives are changed by this disease. The Forever Friends Appeal’s RUH Cancer Care Campaign is raising £8.5million towards the building of a pioneering new Cancer Centre. This Cancer Centre will be a state-of-the-art building, with every part designed around the needs of patients with different forms of cancer. It will transform care for patients and their families at Bath’s Royal United Hospital.
Walk of Life sponsors, Kier Construction, are pleased to be working in partnership with the RUH Bath NHS Trust on the redevelopment of the hospital site.
David Snell, Director of Kier Construction said: “As a local employer with staff resident in the Bath area, we are pleased to lend our support to The Forever Friends Appeal and their current fund raising campaign. Staff from our Bristol office were pleased to take part in the 2014 Walk of Life with an 11-strong team of walkers and a number of volunteer marshals along the route. We look forward to continuing our relationship with the charity in 2015.”
Events & Community Officer for The Forever Friends Appeal, Emily Lynch, comments: “This year’s Walk of Life was a huge success! We had amazing weather, and there were no casualties, only a few blisters! Everyone had their own personal reasons for walking and had their own stories to tell. It is a really social event and people were really supporting each other. We couldn’t have done it without all our supporters and volunteers. With a record number of walkers, we’re hoping to smash last year’s fundraising total of £38,000. The walk is just going to grow next year.”
A successful bucket collection taking place prior to the event in Bath City Centre also raised a further £587.48 which will help the Appeal beat last year’s fundraising total.