Sisters walk the Jurassic Coast for little Ada

Sisters Kate Drew, 64, and Jill Turner, 71, from West Dorset have raised £2,305 for children’s hospice Chestnut Tree House by walking 100km and 42km along the Jurassic Coast. The hospice cares for Kate’s two-year-old granddaughter Ada from Southsea in Hampshire, who was born with complex, life-limiting conditions

After seeing how much Ada and her family were benefitting from Chestnut Tree House’s care, Kate decided to commit to fundraising by walking 100km over two days. “I decided to join her but just do one day,” says Jill. “I’m a bit older after all!”

Jill says this challenge ranks for difficulty alongside previous sponsored walks she has done in Patagonia and Machu Picchu: “We had to walk such a long distance in such a short time, so peak condition for legs and feet had to be a priority. It gave us a real focus for our weekly exercise schedule.”

The team dubbed themselves Team Ada’s Crusaders and set their training targets in the new year. “That gave us five months to increase our mileage before the event,” says Jill, “but of course lots of things got in the way – a family bereavement, the awful spring weather, plus Kate was helping to look after Ada as well as working. Still, we clocked up a lot of miles between us as the challenge drew closer.

We also practise Iyengar yoga regularly, so that helps to keep us fit, and of course our dogs, Lolo and Charlie, got plenty of exercise as well!”

High points of the walk included the stunning coastal views and perfect weather, along with the feeling of camaraderie among fellow walkers who were participating in the same challenge. “Kate didn’t enjoy the five massive hills on the first day, while my lowest point was one-and-a-half miles of walking through shingle on Chesil Beach,” says Jill.

“But the real highlight has to be arriving at the finish line, cheered by friends and family, strolling in as if we’d just walked up the road rather than 100k and 42k – a massive sense of achievement!”

For Ada’s parents, Toby and Charlotte, caring for Ada is an intense, 24-hour a day responsibility. Chestnut Tree House provides respite care, visits from the community nurse and counselling.

Jill adds: “Contact with other families with similar children helps to normalise their situation, gives them confidence in caring for Ada and helping her development. The family attends Chestnut Tree House for events, activities and to enjoy the facilities.” Ada particularly loves her hydrotherapy sessions, and seeing pictures of her enjoying the pool spurred on Kate and Jill as they tackled the final stretch.

Kate says: “We’re quite proud of the money we raised and are amazed at the generosity of others, some of whom we barely know but who have heard about Ada and kindly donated.”

Kate and Jill at the end of their walk

Could you take on a hike for Chestnut Tree House?

Why not take a leaf out of Kate and Jill's book and sign up to your own walking challenge? From marathon treks around the South Downs to endurance treks across the south coast, or midnight walks through London - there's a charity trek for everyone.

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