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Super six trek Down Under for charity

Date: 26 March 2021

Six NHS workers are walking the distance between Brighton and Sydney, Australia – a whopping 10,599 miles (17,057km) – in aid of two charities. 

The staff (pictured above), all from Sussex Community NHS Foundation Trust, the largest provider of NHS community services in Sussex, have challenged themselves to “reach the capital of Oz” before the end of the year to raise £1,000 for Sussex Community NHS Charity, the Trust’s official charity, and Chestnut Tree House children’s hospice, which cares for children with progressive life-shortening conditions from Sussex and South-East Hampshire. 

“2020 was a tough year for many people, including us, but we wanted to go into this year with a fresh perspective and give ourselves a real challenge,” said Laura Watson, spokeswoman for the group, all of whose members work in information governance. 

“One team member’s proposed trip to Australia in December 2020 was cancelled due to the COVID-19 pandemic, so this gave us the destination we needed to make this a real test. 

“This trek to reach the capital of Oz is encouraging us to keep active and, more importantly, giving us the opportunity to help two local charities.” 

If Laura and her colleagues - Lindsay Wells, Adam Rezazadeh, Nicola Brown, Hayleigh Gorringe and Kay Steward - are to make it Down Under in time, they must each complete a minimum of 34 miles, or 57.7km, per week. 

So far, their walking – as well as running, cycling and paddle-boarding - has put them well ahead of schedule, with the group racking up 2,309 miles (3,716km) in the ten weeks from 4 January to 18 March. 

If its members are travelling in a straight line from Brighton to Sydney, this is the equivalent of reaching the southernmost point of Turkey’s Mediterranean coastline. 

The group’s fundraising figures are also promising, with the sextet having collected £896 in pledges, or 89% of their target, with nine months of the challenge remaining. 

They have already doubled their original target of £500 after receiving “overwhelming support” from supporters. 

“We’re very grateful to all of the people who have donated,” said Laura. “We’ve all been touched by their support. 

“We hope others will read about what we’re doing, and the fantastic causes we’re trying to help, and choose to be just as generous.” 

Donations can be made at  Virgin Money Giving | SCFT's Information Governance Team.