Families remember loved ones on Winter Wander

For the second year running, Francis House invited participants to step up in January and take part in a New Year Winter Wander.

Four fantastic walks were on offer to anyone up for the challenge to kick start the New Year with every route planned to take in beautiful countryside.

A total of 46 adults and children took part raising more than £4,277 between them for their local children’s hospice.

Two boys walking in the countryside

Reuben and James Fowler on their Winter Wander around Saddleworth.

Reuben’s walk

For Anna Fowler, eight-year-old Reuben, and fourteen-year-old James, the walk was especially poignant as they remembered lost family members.

Reuben’s cousin, Millie Scott-Brown was cared for by Helen House – a children’s hospice in Oxford – until her death in 2008.  She was nearly two years old.

Anna from Manchester said: “I saw the love and care given to Millie and the support given to the whole family: they made her two older brothers feel special and at home, and provided technical and emotional support to everyone.

“Although Reuben never knew her, she is still part of our family and our joint story. The walk was a lovely opportunity to remember her and think of my late father who used to give my brother and his wife respite twice a week by being up with Millie during the night.

“When we were looking for something to do together that would contribute something, getting in touch with our local hospice was the obvious thing to do. We were delighted that the Winter Wander was happening, and we really enjoyed walking for Millie and Francis House.”

Saddleworth Circuit

On a cold and sunny day in early January the threesome set off around Saddleworth Moor. They chose the ‘Saddleworth Circuit’ – a route taking in four villages, starting and finishing in Uppermill.

“It was beautiful with lots of lovely views,” says Anna. “We liked reaching the reservoir and the roman fort was fun: we had our picnic lunch there and read the notices and imagined what it must have been like to live there.

“It was lovely to be able to do it in our own way at our time and pace. It was a perfect length really and we had some lovely conversations along the way.  It did feel like an achievement to have done it together.  I’m really proud of Reuben. He knew it was for something special and when he got tired – about 2 miles before the end- remembering that it was a sponsored walk really helped and he stayed cheerful the whole time.”

James, 14, said: “It felt like it was on the verge of a flash freeze all the time. I only took my gloves off once to tie my bootlaces and by the time I got to the second boot, my hands were too cold to tie them up.”

Their walk of 9.7 miles took 3 hours 11 minutes and raised £1,228, including gift aid, in sponsorship for Francis House.

Carole’s walk

Two women stood in front of reservoir sign

Carole Nixon and Carol Collier walking the Turton Reservoir Round route.

Friends Carole Nixon and Carol Collier walked in memory of Carole’s mum Mary Nixon who was a supporter of Francis House.

The friends opted for the ‘Turton Reservoir Round’ a seven mile route from Jumbles Country Park, Bolton, they wound their way past Wayoh and Entwistle reservoirs and had the choice of two pub stops along the way.

Retired primary school teacher Carole, from Gorton, Manchester said: “Carol and I thoroughly enjoyed our Winter Wander for Francis House. We split it into three shorter walks, because of minor health issues, but our walk was completed on January 30.

Turton Reservoir Round

“The walk not only took us to places and tracks that we had not visited before, but also introduced us to some good ‘watering holes’, which we plan to revisit. I would like to thank Francis House for setting the walks – it has encouraged us to get out walking more, as well as enabling us to help with vital fundraising work.

The pair smashed their original fundraising target of £50 and raised £410 including gift aid.

“I am amazed by how generous our family and friends were, especially during such financially difficult times, but it shows how they hold Francis House in such high respect,” added Carole.

Francis House fundraising officer and organiser Rachel Nasiri would like to thank everyone who took part in the Winter Wander and all the people who so generously supported them.

Carole’s next fundraising venture is a little more sedate, knitting chicks with her sister Anne Warburton for the Francis House Easter Chick Appeal.

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