As part of the changes we made to Starlight Stroll this year, we offered the opportunity for supporters to walk a virtual Starlight Stroll – a four mile walk wherever they were, whenever they chose to do so. One of those who were unable to attend the event along Eastbourne seafront was Fiona Fountain; however, instead of walking four miles, she chose to walk 4 kilometres a day throughout September.

Since Fiona’s mum died, at Hospice in the Weald, she has found the work of hospices inspiring. Because of this, it felt like a natural progression to support St Wilfrid’s Hospice when she and her husband moved down to Eastbourne 10 years ago. Over the years they have taken part in fundraising events, including several Starlight Strolls, and made sure that they were signed up to Gift Aid for whenever they make a donation. Fiona is also a Ceremonies Registrar for East Sussex County Council and has conducted weddings in the hospice, which she finds incredibly moving and a massive privilege.

‘We all have to die and the hospice makes sure that those who need their care are able to live well at the end of their life,’ she said.

Before lockdown, Fiona described herself as a ‘couch potato’ and wasn’t used to the amount of walking that she had challenged herself to. However, despite painful blisters and bruising, she embraced the challenge and remained determined.

‘Some days I really looked forward to doing it, some days were a bit more of a struggle, but I wasn’t going to stop; I had made a commitment and a promise to those who were donating,’ she said, ‘I was determined to go out every day, come rain or shine - and amazingly I was really lucky with the weather.’

Across the month, Fiona did a variety of walks; often doing circuits around Meads, along Eastbourne seafront, or over the Downs. Joined by her husband or by friends, with many reaching out to her on Facebook, some days she would break up the walks with a well deserved cup of coffee! In total, her daily walks have added up to around 134 miles – well over the 120 kilometres she had originally set out to do.

‘I am really glad I did it, and to have raised nearly ten times the target I was set is incredible - I am enormously grateful to everyone who has donated so far. It is great to have achieved something for such a good cause and I am now looking forward to my next challenge; possibly a virtual walk around the hospice’s catchment area.'

We would like to take this opportunity to thank Fiona for all her efforts to raise money for St Wilfrid’s. 70% of our income comes from our community and fundraising, so we wouldn’t be able to do what we do without people like Fiona. If you would like to donate to her JustGiving page, please click here.