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Bristol's own 'Famous Five' to take on hospice walking challenge

10 April 2024 chsw Fundraising

A group of friends nicknamed Bristol’s very own ‘Famous Five’ are off on an adventure along the coast – to raise money for Children's Hospice South West.

Claire Lawes, Beverley Wallace, Angela Norman, Julie Leyshon and Julie Burley are packing their rucksacks ready for their ‘5 ladies, 5 days and 50 miles’ challenge.

Their adventure will see the self-confessed ‘ladies of a certain age’ walk from Wembury near Plymouth to Dartmouth over 5 days beginning on May 7.

The friends, all who live in Bristol, have set themselves a target of raising £2,500 for Children’s Hospice South West.

Claire started volunteering for CHSW through her friend Heidi Roberts, CHSW area fundraiser for B&NES and West Wiltshire.

Claire helped at a number of business events alongside Heidi and was involved in launching CHSW's Young Ambassadors Scheme at Hayesfield School in Bath.

Wanting to continue her volunteering work Claire then held a cream tea in the garden of her home at Longwell Green in August 2022.

The event was attended by 50 ladies and raised a staggering £2,000 for CHSW.

Angela was one of the ladies who attended the cream tea and, after hearing Heidi speak about the work of the charity, was also keen to volunteer.

Then a tennis fundraising event inspired Julie Leyshon and Julie Burley to get involved with CHSW and the walk.

Between them the fabulous 5 have organised and supported fundraising events including tennis matches, a spin-a thon and a raffle at David Lloyd Health Club in Emerson’s Green, where they are all members.

The club has given them great support for their fundraising.

The ladies were inspired to do a walking challenge after learning about CHSW’s Incredible Hike event during a tour of CHSW’s Charlton Farm in Wraxall.

Claire said: When Heidi told us about the Incredible Hike event we were inspired to do our own. We all love walking and we thought it would be a great way to raise funds together for the charity.

The ladies, all of whom are in their 50s and 60s, are planning to break the walk up into sections of around 10 miles a day, staying at Air BnB’s along the way.

“We looked at lots of different routes,” said Beverley, “but we chose the Wembury to Dartmouth one because it is a particularly picturesque one.”

The 5 have been in training for their trek over the last six months, doing a walk a month in preparation for their challenge, and will join Charlton Farm’s operations lead Matt Norman on part of his walk on April 19 as one of several challenges he is completing during 2024 for CHSW.

They will also be supported along their coastal journey by friends who will be taking their luggage to and from each point – as well as providing food and encouragement.

“We are ladies of a certain age,” laughed Claire, “and we have a few injuries between us.

“And we are expecting perhaps to feel a little sore afterwards.

Knowing that every step we take will be raising funds for such an incredible charity will be motivation enough to keep us going.

“We will be celebrating getting to the finish with a nice glass of champagne.”

CHSW area fundraiser for B&NES and West Wiltshire Heidi said: “These incredible ladies are constantly raising awareness of CHSW and how we look after children and young people with life limiting and life-threatening illnesses and they have shown such passion and commitment to this challenge so they can continue to make a difference to the families we care for at CHSW.

"They are inspirational ladies who have formed a beautiful friendship in planning and training for the walk. I am looking forward to being at Dartmouth to see them finish with the CHSW bear mascot".

Anyone who wants to support the ladies in their challenge can visit their Just Giving page at