It’s no secret that the support of our fundraisers is invaluable to us, and without it, we wouldn't be able to provide the vital care and support we do. Over the coming weeks, we’ll be catching up with some superstar supporters as part of our ‘inspirational fundraisers’ series.

First up, we speak with Russ Wordie a founding member of the Hoo Hikers team.

Russ has always been a keen hiker, enjoying the great outdoors and seeing new sights, but also taking pleasure from the social aspect that comes with it and meeting new people. Over the years he has completed numerous challenges for a variety of causes, from walking coast to coast across Corsica to completing the Nations Three Peaks Challenge (multiple times). Looking for a new challenge, Russ recruited some of his work colleagues from Wincanton and thus the Hoo Hikers were born.

Russ explains, “After a visit to the Sittingbourne hospice, we adopted Demelza as Hoo Hikers charity to support” – and the rest is history. Over the years the Hoo Hikers have covered somewhere in the region of an impressive 3,500 miles on foot and have raised over £7,300 for Demelza Hospice Care for Children.

Alongside Russ, the Hoo Hikers team includes Coralie, Jeanette, Gwion, Bhavni and James. Speaking about the various abilities within the group, Russ shares, “Some of the team never hiked before and some had completed long-distance walks in the past. We started out with small hikes, up to five miles, then increased this to a 30 mile training hike prior to the Harlow to Hoo (45 mile) challenge. Since then, we have trained most Wednesday evenings for around five miles and every other weekend, anywhere between 10 and 26 miles”.

The team of hikers selflessly cover their own expenses, including travel, accommodation, food, physiotherapy and kit costs. They also use their own annual leave to complete the challenges – Russ tells us, “As you can see, we are very committed and passionate to our cause. We are looking to get some sponsors on board, or other ways to generate a cash flow to assist us going forward".

1066 Harold’s Way Walk

In September of this year, the Hoo Hikers undertook their latest four day challenge following King Harold's mammoth 125 mile journey from Westminster Abbey, London to Senlac Hill, East Sussex, to the site of the Battle of Hastings.

“This was a demanding challenge, with a variety of terrain from the north banks of the Thames to the open Kent countryside, with a lot of hills and a mixture of weather fronts”. Nonetheless, the Hoo Hikers went on to raise a huge £3,400 – this amount of money could help cover the costs of over 18 Care at Home visits for children and families across Kent, South East London and East Sussex.

Visit the Hoo Hikers JustGiving page to support their 1066 Challenge.

Hoo Hikers: Walking Challenges for Charity

If you’re inspired to undertake a hiking challenge, perhaps you can take inspiration from the Hoo Hikers. Some of their previous fundraising challenges include: hiking from Harlow to Hoo (a 45 mile walk, completed in 24 hours), Mount Snowdon and 100 miles along the coastal path on the Isle of Wight.

Teasing us with news of future fundraising, Russ and the Hoo Hikers are looking at a few options for their 2022 charity hike and shares that we can expect to hear an announcement in January.

Get involved: Support the Hoo Hikers

“The Hoo Hikers have their own Facebook page @hoohikers and next year we will be looking at making a YouTube channel too. They have started to produce some merchandise, which they will sell and donate the profits. Along with this venture they wanted to get people back outdoors, promoting health and wellbeing from walking and also help people gain confidence – watch this space for 2022!”

Russ continues, “Support for fundraising is really about getting the Hoo Hikers out there for people to see”. You can find the @hoohikers on Facebook to see and support their fundraising challenges.

Get in touch

Our community fundraising team are available to answer any questions you might have about fundraising and support you with your events.

For more inspiration and fundraising ideas, visit our fundraise for us page.

The Hoo Hikers
Four members of the Hoo Hikers team out hiking.
The Hoo Hikers team celebrate finishing their challenge, wearing red Demelza t-shirts.
Four of the Hoo Hikers team take a break, sitting in their portal seats and taking their boots off.