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Olivia’s Walk for Winston’s Wish
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Olivia’s Walk for Winston’s Wish

How did Walk for Winston’s Wish start?

My brother and I lost our mum very suddenly in 2010 and as you can understand this was a tragic time for us, friends and family alike. However, approximately 6 months after losing mum we were so lucky to have been put in contact with Winston’s Wish.

My brother and I attended a residential camp where we met other children in similar situations- although it was bittersweet to meet such lovely people under such sad circumstances, my brother and I always agree that the camp helped us enormously!

After all the help we received from Winston’s Wish in the following months we wanted to try and give back a small token of our gratitude. We also wanted to celebrate mum – she was an amazingly kind person with a big character and an equally big smile to match- we did not want her death to define her nor us as a family.

Therefore, the clocks began turning and the idea for ‘Walk for Winston’s Wish’ came into being- it was a simple idea; to gather family, friends and the local community together to spend a day doing approximately 7 mile walk (with pub pit-stops in between!) while chatting, laughing and hopefully creating lovely memories together.

Originally the event was going to be a one-time thing however, the success of the first year and people’s enthusiasm for a follow-up event encouraged my brother and me to organise another one the following year.

The event has now been running over 5 consecutive years and thanks to the efforts, support and love of all people involved we have managed to raise over £10,000 for Winston’s Wish.

Walk for Winston’s Wish has now become one of the key days not only my brother and I look forward to but also friends and family alike- Its filled with happiness and celebration to recognise the amazing work Winston’s Wish do (and raising some donations for the charity is always a bonus too!)

What have been your ‘stand out moments’ from the past 5 years?

Every year the event has grown and evolved- with each consecutive event being bigger and better than the year before!

Two years ago we began an ‘after-party’ including live music, dancing and singing- this made the event seem like a complete celebratory party- the exact vibe my brother and I were hoping for. Although there were a few sore heads the next morning, we had so much fun dancing and singing altogether throughout the evening that it was completely worth it (surprisingly we still had enough energy to bust out some moves after the walk!)

We’ve also had an array of weather over the past 5 years- some much better than other. Yet, despite even adverse weather conditions (and yes there has been hail, wind and even snow!) everyone comes along with big smiles ready for a great day- this year the walk was covered in snow making the whole landscape amazingly scenic, even if a bit cold!

What impact has Winston’s Wish’s had for you and your family?

The charity helped my brother and I through a particularly challenging period in our lives, for which we will forever be grateful for. We have seen first-hand the outstanding work that the charity do and how it can, put simply, change lives. The residential camp, face-to-face support, pamphlets, phone calls and online services made my brother and I realise that we were not alone- people out there understood, wanted to help and were going to be there for us during this challenging time. Put simply, it gave us a sense of hope that we would be able to get through this and that no matter what it took or how long it took that people were looking out for us.

Therefore, that’s why my brother and I felt so passionately about wanting to help; I can only say so many times how incredible the charity is but we mean it from the bottom of our hearts. We wholly believe that the charity deserve every ounce of support, recognition and donations that we are able to gain from Walk for Winston’s Wish.

Harv, Olivia’s sister, said: 
“The charity helped us a lot so it’s a nice feeling that we may be able to help the charity help children is similar positions too. Walk for Winston’s Wish is always fun and it’s nice to see all our friends and family get together to celebrate the charity. My sister and I really hope to continue the day for many years to come.”
Russell, their father, added: 
“The kids were adamant on not letting their mums tragic death define them- although it was a truly saddening and challenging time for friends and family alike it’s been brilliant that the kids turned their loss into positive energy by holding the Walk event- with the great help of Winston’s Wish of course! Now after five years the event has become something in many people’s social calendars- I’m guessing the pub pit stops always help! I’m very proud of Harv and Livv and hope the future events build on the success so far!”

What are your future goals for the walk?

We hope that the walk can continue to be a celebration; a celebration of a brilliant charity who deserves to be recognised and celebrated for everything they do, they’ve achieved whilst also gaining support for their future work and endeavours. We have always hoped that it is a happy, fun day bringing different ages, groups and individuals together to simply enjoy the outdoors as well as each other’s company.
The successes of the previous walks have also meant that we have set a goal for ourselves alike- one where we hope to carry on building on the successes of the event year on year and for it to become a locally-recognised event where everyone and anyone is welcome – the more the merrier!