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Michael Eavis to open charity marathon walk after receiving “excellent” care at RUH

Legendary Glastonbury festival founder Michael Eavis CBE will officially open The Forever Friends Appeal’s annual fundraising event, the “Walk of Life” on Saturday 13th May 2017, after receiving “excellent” care from clinicians at Bath’s Royal United Hospital.

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 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.

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As Ambassador for the 2017 Walk of Life, Michael will attend the start of the event’s new route in Bishops Cannings to meet and greet walkers, before joining them as they begin their walk along the Kennet and Avon canal. The event’s new 26.2 mile route will this year start at The Crown Inn Pub, situated within the picturesque village of Bishops Cannings, just outside of Devizes. Walkers will start from The Crown Inn at 8am to travel along the canal, via Bradford on Avon to end at the iconic Holburne Museum in Bath. For those who don’t fancy a full marathon, walkers can also opt to walk a shorter 10 mile route in the afternoon – from Bradford on Avon to Bath.

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. The Walk started in 2006 when sisters Vanessa Kyte and Nicola Noble approached the Appeal with an idea about holding a walk to raise money to improve Cancer facilities at the hospital. Sadly in 2007 Vanessa passed away 7 years after her cancer diagnosis, with Nic’s final promise to her being to continue fundraising in her memory to see a new Cancer Centre built at the RUH.

In 2016 the Walk of Life celebrated its 10th birthday and saw over 350 walkers take part to celebrate the lives and memories of their loved ones. In past years the walk has always offered walkers the choice between a full 21 mile route, or shorter 12 and 9 mile distances. The Appeal are now extremely excited to announce that new for 2017, the event’s full route will be extended from 21 miles to a full 26.2 miles – a marathon walking event!

Nic says, “The Walk of Life has grown from strength to strength over the past 11 years and it’s been very exciting (and emotional!) to watch it grow in numbers. Together with the Appeal’s Events Team, we now want to offer people the option to challenge themselves to achieve something truly inspirational – a marathon 26.2 mile route! We immediately contacted Michael Eavis to ask whether he would consider becoming an Ambassador for the event; a well-respected local man who himself has achieved inspirational success with Glastonbury Festival over the years… Vanessa would have wanted nothing else!”

Michael continues: “When Nic approached me with her story and asked if I would consider becoming an Ambassador for the Walk Of Life I didn’t hesitate to say yes. I am now looking forward to meeting walkers in May at the start of the 2017 Walk of Life and hope that this coming year will be the best year yet!”

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

One in two people are affected by cancer and everyday lives are changed by this disease.  The Forever Friends Appeal’s RUH Cancer Care Campaign is raising a minimum of £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.  The Appeal have currently raised an incredible £7.6 million and have another £1.3 to go until they reach their minimum target of £8.5 million.

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.

Events & Community Officer for The Forever Friends Appeal, Emily Lynch, comments:  “We are so grateful to Michael for giving something back to the RUH by coming on board as official Ambassador for the 2017 Walk of Life! We’re also very excited to be launching our new and improved marathon route and hope to attract a record number of walkers this coming year. The 2016 Walk of Life raised over £50,000 for the RUH Cancer Care Campaign, as well as other wards and departments at the hospital. With Michael’s help we hope we can smash this fundraising total in 2017!”

Together with Michael, the Appeal are now encouraging people sign up to take part in the 2017 Walk of Life.

Earlybird online entries to the event are now open, at a discounted price of £15 per person. General entry places will be £20 per person thereafter. All entries included a free t-shirt, medal and goody bag.

Local businesses are also being encouraged to sign up teams in the Walk of Life Corporate Challenge.  Completing the Corporate Challenge as a team gives people an opportunity to enjoy a fun day out of the office, have time for team bonding, experience an environment where companies can compete against each other in a positive and friendly way and be involved with supporting a cause that is close to the hearts of so many people.

To find out more, please our Walk of Life page or call the events team on 01225 821535.

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