Men’s Walk for Hospiscare returned to Exeter on Saturday (March 9), with 1,400 people walking to raise vital funds for the local hospice charity.

The annual event returned for a 13th year with participants walking seven miles along the Quayside to support patients and families living with terminal illnesses across Exeter, Central and East Devon.

Thanks to the fantastic fundraising efforts, the event has raised over £90,000 and staff were still counting when the paper went to print. Hospiscare hopes that the final total will beat last year’s total and raise over £120,000 for patient care.

Martin Stokke, senior events fundraiser at Hospiscare, said: “Men’s Walk 2024 saw record participation, with 1400 people taking part at Double Locks or by walking their own route in their own neighbourhood. This has put us in a great position to beat last year’s record-breaking fundraising total.

“We are so grateful to our brilliant walkers as well as the event volunteers, event sponsors Wilkinson Grant & Co and event partners Exeter Brewery, Chunk of Devon and Double Locks.

Every walker, supporter and donation raises vital funds for end-of-life care in our community and makes the work of the hospice possible.

“It costs £10 million a year to provide our care to local people in need. We get one of the lowest contributions of government hospice funding in the country – just 18 per cent of our costs – and we have to raise the remaining 82 per cent of our annual costs through fundraising every year.”

The March rain and wind did not dampen spirits on the day. After finishing the route, walkers gathered at the Double Locks Hotel and were rewarded with a pint courtesy of Exeter Brewery and a pasty supplied by Chunk of Devon while watching England beat Ireland in the Six Nations rugby tournament.

The annual Men’s Walk is open to anyone but aims to provide a safe space for men to talk without judgement, as just 22 per cent of the current bereavement support calls received by Hospiscare are from men

Hospiscare cares for around 2,000 terminally-ill patients and their families each year across Exeter, Central and East Devon and events like Men’s Walk are a crucial way to fund the hospice’s services.

Hospiscare has four sites: Searle House in Exeter, Kings House in Honiton, Pine Lodge in Tiverton and High View in Exmouth.

The hospice also provides care in patients’ homes and community settings across the region and supportive care for the friends and family of its patients.

Hospiscare’s story started in 1982 when 400 people gathered at Exeter’s Guildhall to hear Dr John Searle talk about the urgent need for a local hospice care service. At this time, people with life-limiting illnesses often had little or no support other than what their families could provide.

Dr Searle worked with a team of volunteers to fundraise for a community nurse service. At first, there were just two community nurses, who travelled across Exeter to see patients. By 1992, enough money had been raised to open Searle House – a hospice with wards for critically-ill patients to receive 24 hour care and treatment rooms for day services.

In 2011, Hospiscare opened Tiverton’s Pine Lodge and in 2015 Honiton’s Kings House opened, so that critically-ill patients unable to travel to Exeter could still access in-patient care.

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