Challenge Series Archives - East Cheshire Hospice

Calvin Marketing – 25 Miles for 25 Years

Fitness enthusiast Diana Stephenson turned the 25th birthday celebrations of the marketing and public relations company she founded into a charity challenge.

Colleagues at Calvin Marketing completed a series of solo activities to raise funds for East Cheshire Hospice.

Each went 3.6 miles and covered a combined distance of 25 miles by either running, cycling, walking, hiking or horse riding.

Diana ran to the company’s Lower Withington office, her fitness routine paying off even though she had not run for three years.

Husband Peter hiked in Macclesfield Forest with their two dogs and Charlotte Gribbin also enjoyed a dog walk.

Katya Joyce cycled and Sara Wheater ran, as did Alex Brown who went backwards partly. Meanwhile, Julia Bickerton rode her horse on a farm.

Diana said: “The fundraising was a fun way to raise money for a great local charity. I haven’t had direct experience of the Hospice but know people who’ve had its support and they sing its praises.

“We wanted to do something on our home patch to celebrate Calvin’s birthday and the Hospice is certainly a worthy recipient.

“We’re delighted to celebrate 25 years and business is flying at the moment. Marketing is very much in demand and clients are needing us more than ever during the pandemic. ”

Calvin is sharing memories across social media, reminiscing on how the industry once relied on mobile phones the size of bricks and posted out press releases with large photographs.

* To donate visit

Peter Stephenson on his charity hike.


Charlotte Gribbin on her dog walk.


Runner Sara Wheater was the first to complete her Calvin challenge.

Review of the Year – 2020

Face shields, fundraising and a special farewell marked a year that East Cheshire Hospice will never forget.

End-of-life care became much harder because of Covid-19 which prevented the Hospice from holding a single mass-participation event in 2020.

Nurses showed amazing character and spirit – their brave efforts honoured during the emotional  Clap for Carers tributes each Thursday.

The community came together during lockdown, raising much-needed funds with all ages showing incredible acts of kindness and dedication.

Tytherington School pupil Finley Foote raised an incredible £5,515 running near his Bollington home, while another youngster George Bailey climbed 108,000 steps.

Many were inspired by fundraiser Carl Lamptey who received messages of support from musicians and sports stars.

Face shields flooded into the Hospice, along with other PPE equipment. Students and staff at Fallibroome Academy produced visors, while volunteer Shelagh Julian put her sewing skills to good use making masks.

Musician John Jones has spent more than 30 years cheering up patients playing his accordion. His performances have raised more than £300,000 for charity, including £89,000 for the Hospice.

John lost his wife June in March but was determined the show must go on in tribute to his biggest supporter.

The Hospice made two key appointments in 2020. Experienced BBC broadcaster Nick Robinson was appointed a Patron of the charity, which cared for his late father Robbie, while Edna Keefe became an Honorary Vice President.

The news came as she retired after 32 years’ service. Edna’s first job was to clean the Hospice before it even welcomed its first patient and she later worked in the laundry room.

The pandemic led to volunteers standing down temporarily, the Hospice hoping to welcome them all back in 2021.


Fallibroome Academy’s Catriona Beynon hard at work making visors.


Finley Foote and mum Sarah on one of their runs.


Edna Keefe (left) with former housekeeping colleague Christine Jenkins.


Nick Robinson who became a Hospice Patron in 2020.


Accordionist John Jones who has raised over £300,000 for charity.


Nurses taking part in the Clap for Carers.

Victoria and Jake’s 70 Mile Run

A taxi ride home after running for almost 17 hours was welcome relief for Victoria McKibben and Jake Crabtree.

The couple had run 50 miles from their Bollington home to Cannock Chase in Staffordshire to raise funds for East Cheshire Hospice.

They had intended to keep going for 24 hours but fatigue took over so they reluctantly completed the last part of their journey by taxi from Stoke, having completed 70 miles.

Victoria, a primary school teacher, said: “We’d set off at 10 am and ran most of the way along canals and country lanes, stopping only for short walking breaks.

Victoria McKibben and Jake Crabtree setting off on their 17-hour run.

“We tried to get all the way back to complete 100 miles but our bodies suddenly started to seize up at 2.30 am when the cold hit us. I could feel my eyes closing as we were running.

“We were chuffed to run 20 miles further than we’ve done before and beat our fundraising target by raising £1,025 for the Hospice.”

They had entered a challenge to run from Meriden in Warwickshire, but that was cancelled because of lockdown so they joined a substitute event in which runners attempted to run for a day from home.

Hospice Marketing Manager Amy Chatwood said:  “What an amazing effort by Victoria and Jake and everyone at the Hospice sends them our heartfelt thanks. They pushed themselves to the limit and we’re humbled and surprised at the lengths fundraisers go to raise money.”

* To sponsor Victoria and Jake visit

Rob Gorton – Challenge Man!

Accounts Assistant Rob Gorton has almost lost count of his challenges cancelled this year.

He signed up for a dozen fundraising events in aid of East Cheshire Hospice, completing just two before lockdown.

Rob, from Macclesfield, had organised seven 10ks and three trail runs until the pandemic spoiled his plans.

He did run several events as virtual races and has signed up for them all again in 2021.

His most exciting adventure is a trek across the Sahara Desert next November (13-20) in the Hospice’s next overseas trip.

Another unusual challenge is a 39-mile cliff-top coastal walk next June around Guernsey where he lived for three years.

Rob said: “I want to raise as much as I can for the Hospice and am hopeful I can do this in 2021, along with Born Survivor at Capesthorne Hall with other members from RISE, a fitness centre in Macclesfield.

“A number of family and friends have been cared for at the Hospice in the last few years, including a school friend Sam Burt who raised a lot of money for the charity himself.”

Rob, who works for Lennards Chartered Accountants, has helped out behind the bar at Hospice quiz nights at Marlborough School.

Rob added: “I’m really excited by the Sahara trek. I kept seeing the Hospice advertise an information evening and got more tempted, especially as I wanted to tackle something more active.”

* To support Rob’s running challenge visit For his Sahara trek visit

Rob Gorton who is tackling a series of challenges for East Cheshire Hospice.

Pandemic Postpones Heather’s Yacht Race

Sailor Heather Broadbent will have to wait until next August to resume her round-the-world voyage because of Covid-19.

The landscape gardener has already raised a staggering £29,000 for East Cheshire Hospice from her epic adventure.

Heather is taking part in the Clipper 2019-20 Round the World Yacht Race which was suspended in February after reaching the Philippines.

Organisers hoped the race would resume early in 2021 but a resumption has been delayed because of the on-going pandemic.

Heather, from Disley, is determined to carry on with her aim of raising £40,000 – a pound for each mile of the race – to support the Hospice @Home service. Her late husband Adam (45) was a patient at the Hospice.

Heather Broadbent on her round-the-world voyage.

She said: “I’m excited for the re-start and I’ve kept in touch with other members of  our crew, including the skipper.  I met up with some of them in Scotland after coming home.

“The challenge was to try to complete the race in one go and that can’t happen because of the strange circumstances but I still feel very proud and privileged for what I’ve achieved.”

Heather, from Disley, took up mountain biking after getting home. She set sail from the River Thames in September 2019 on board GoToBermuda, one of 11 yachts in the fleet.

As things stand, she will eventually reach the UK finish line early in 2022 -almost two and a half years after she departed on what should have been a single 11-month journey.

Heather was a novice sailor before she entered the race. She said: “The crew have been keeping up with our sailing skills and learning as much as we can through online courses.

“My log book shows I travelled 27,000 miles. I’m staying positive and want to thank everyone who’s kindly donated so far. Hopefully, I’ll still reach my fundraising target and any further help would be fantastic.”

Heather went to South America, South Africa and Australia, where she spent last Christmas, before reaching the Far East before the interruption six months into the race.

The race once it resumes will have three Chinese stopovers before crossing the North Pacific to Seattle, then Panama and Bermuda before the final Atlantic leg to Britain.

* To sponsor Heather visit

Heather Broadbent on her round-the-world voyage.

Tom’s Cycling Challenge

Learning how to ride a road bike has inspired teenager Tom Escott-Smith who is determined to help others.

The Fallibroome Academy pupil raised more than £950 for East Cheshire Hospice after cycling 440 miles.

Now the 13-year-old from Prestbury, who has dyspraxia, is showing two youngsters fostered by his mum Lesley how to ride as well.

Tom’s feet have hardly touched the ground since personal trainer Richard Storer gave him the confidence to get into the saddle.

Mum Lesley said: “Tom’s quite proud of his achievements because he only really started riding two years ago. He wanted to do something useful and helpful during lockdown and the racing bike has transformed him and developed his physique.

“He was committed and cycled every day. His school was very supportive and awarded him a certificate in recognition of his community work.”

The challenge equalled the distance to the family home of Lesley’s father at Findochty, near Cullen Bay, Scotland, where the local hotel fully supported and sponsored Tom.

Lesley and Tom had intended to join the Light Up The Night memory walk, organised by the Hospice.

Tom said: “We’ve done the walk each year so when it was called off, I looked for an incentive.

“I wanted to keep fit and active and do some good for charity and the Hospice does a brilliant job. I did some of the challenge from my own lounge during lockdown.”

* To sponsor Tom visit

Tom Escott-Smith who raised £950 from a cycling challenge. 

24 Hour Run – The Meriden Challenge

Running for 24 minutes is long enough for most but a Bollington couple are attempting to keep going for a staggering 24 hours!

Victoria McKibben and Jake Crabtree are taking part in long-distance challenge from Meriden, the geographical centre of England, in aid of East Cheshire Hospice.

They will set off from the Warwickshire village at 6 pm on Friday, November 13, and see how far they can travel on foot within a 24-hour time limit.

More than 200 runners will leave at staggered start times with GPS tracking devices determining the winners who go the furthest in any direction as the crow flies.

Victoria and Jake, a contracts manager, will navigate roads and footpaths with Manchester Cathedral – around 100 miles away – their target destination.

Victoria, a primary school teacher, said: “We’ve been training hard but the most we’ve run is a 50-mile ultra marathon in the Peak District last year which took 13 hours.

“We want to keep running as much as possible and will only stop for a few minutes’ rest if necessary. Hopefully, we’ll spur each other on to keep going.

“We’ll have a rucksack but don’t want to carry too much and will have enough refreshments to keep us going through the night before we top up on water and food.

“We often donate to the Hospice and would like to raise £1,000 for a wonderful local charity.”

* To sponsor them visit


Jake Crabtree and Victoria McKibben and training for their 24-hour running challenge.

Rose and Peter Prepare for Firewalk

Rose Brocklehurst is guaranteed a warm reception when she returns to East Cheshire Hospice in a couple of weeks.

Not only because Rose once worked there, but also because she faces the daunting prospect of a Firewalk.

Rose and husband Peter have both agreed to take part in the challenge on Friday, November 6, starting at 7 pm.

Rose and Peter Brocklehurst who are undertaking a Firewalk.

They are raising funds in memory of Liz Brown whose husband Greg works at the farm they own near Congleton.

Greg, from Macclesfield, took part in the last Firewalk two years ago, shortly after Liz died at the Hospice, aged 38.

Liz and Greg Brown.

Rose and Peter were there to support him so know what to expect. Rose said: “We saw the flames turn into hot coals so watched the process and thought we’ll do it next time.

“I worked at the Hospice for nearly 20 years initially as a nurse and then as a complementary therapist so have first-hand experience of its role within the community and how it needs funds.”

Peter said: “We’re both fascinated by the challenge and I’ve seen people doing it before in India on television. We thought it’d be nice to raise money in Liz’s memory.”

To sponsor them visit

* There are still spaces at the Firewalk which is streamed live from Millbank Drive due to Covid-19, limiting spectator numbers. Safety briefings will be given online.

Visit The £30 registration fee covers the cost of the event and additional sponsorship goes directly towards Hospice care.


Launch of the Challenge Ideas Generator

East Cheshire Hospice has launched an interactive tool on their website to help potential fundraisers.

The Challenge Ideas Generator web page suggests ways of getting involved with events to support the Hospice.

The Hospice fundraising team came up with the easy-to-use guide as a response to the phenomenal success of supporter-led initiatives over the last six months.

The donations given as sponsorship for these initiatives have provided a lifeline for the Hospice after it was forced to cancel all official events six months ago because of Covid-19.

Hospice Marketing Manager Amy Chatwood said: “This new interactive Challenge Ideas Generator is basically a summary of just over 100 ideas and events as inspiration for ways of fundraising.

“The challenge generator breaks down into categories, such as how difficult a challenge someone wants to undertake and whether they want to do it on their own, or in a group.

“It could be anything from a bike ride, walk, run, swim, Three Peaks Challenge or even sky diving. The short interactive form is designed to help people help us because we still urgently need ongoing support.

“We’ve been overwhelmed by the enthusiasm shown by people who’ve wanted to get involved with the Hospice over the summer.

“The community has responded to the challenge and we’ve been so grateful for that support. Thankfully, it seems people are still up for the challenge and our new web page is designed to assist them.”

* Visit for more details.

Rachel Gledhill – Tequila Lover to Triathlete!

Rachel Gledhill had to borrow a bike and buy running shoes for her first triathlon.

She did at least own a wetsuit for the one-mile swim across Pickmere Lake which started her endurance challenge.

Heavy rain meant there was no way of drying off for a 40k bike ride to Chelford before a 10k run uphill to East Cheshire Hospice.

There she was met by nurses who toasted her success after four-and-a-half hour journey in bad conditions.

Heavy rain could not deter Rachel from completing her triathlon.

Rachel’s exploits raised £3,100 for the charity in memory of her husband Tom’s grandad Roy Lee, from Chelford.

Roy (78) died in the Hospice four years ago and the family never forgot the care he received.

Rachel said: “Tom’s grandad took me under  his wing and I always said I’d do something to pay the Hospice back, especially as it needs thousands of pounds each day to stay open.

“The care was unbelievable and Hospice made him so comfortable. He was so happy there in his final days.”

Rachel with her husband Tom’s grandad Roy Lee.

Rachel, who works for property developers DeTrafford, was joined by friends and family en route to keep her spirits up.

Sister-in-law  Leanne Tully and her daughter Isabelle (8) ran the last mile with her from Broken Cross.

Rachel said: “A triathlon is not my thing at all and I had to borrow a bike and buy proper running shoes. I started exercising during lockdown and really enjoyed it and that inspired me.

“Two triathlons I’d entered were cancelled so I took matters into my own hands and created my own route. Unfortunately, it was one of the wettest days on record so there was no chance of getting dry after the swim section.

“Five supporters joined me on the bike ride and three on the run and I’m overwhelmed by everyone’s support and generosity and want to thank them for donating.”

* To support Rachel visit

Rachel with Miley Morris (left) and Isabelle Tully.