Nearly 900 soggy fundraisers crawled, splashed and climbed their way through five or 10 miles of muddy obstacles for The Hospice of St Francis at its second Mud Pack Challenge on Sunday.
Smiling, determined and keen to get caked in mud for charity, the fun-loving Mud Packers enjoyed more obstacles, more water and more mud as they completed the boggy filth fest in the glorious grounds of Ashridge House.
A special spectator squirt zone gave watching supporters the chance to be part of the muddy fun. Meanwhile, 20 troops from RAF Halton, Navy reserves from HMS Wildfire and fire fighters from Hemel’s Blue Watch put participants through their drills, motivating them on what was a tougher course this year, designed by personal trainer, Paul Stevens.
Hospice Events Manager, Fran Martin, said: "A huge thank you to all our marshals, volunteers and of course, our amazing Mud Packers, who showed fantastic determination and a great spirit of camaraderie, team work and fun.
“Without their support and the support of Ashridge House who provided our beautiful venue, Ashridge Gardening Team who prepared the mud, Framework Construction who provided our incredible obstacles and the NFU, AJ Cornthwaites, Top Hat Marquees, Bishops Skips, Blains Tyres, Jamvans, Mark Gent Bowsers, Paper Trail Heritage, London Midland, Barnetts Coach Hire and Little Jim’s Buses, we couldn’t have done it!
“We’re set to raise more than £140,000, which will help the Hospice provide vital services for patients and families facing life-limiting illness both in the Hospice, at home and in the community.”
Men, women and over 15’s from all over the Hospice’s catchment and beyond took part, all of them for fun and many of them with a personal story linked to the Hospice.
The biggest team of the day was the 135-strong Keohane Crew, who took part in memory of City banker Paul Keohane, 52, who passed away at the Hospice in June of this year.
Mudcaked and soggy, Paul’s widow Eleanor, 43, from Rectory Lane, Berkhamsted, said, “It was such great fun! Our knees are a bit sore and battered but it couldn’t have been more worth it. The way the Hospice cared for Paul, and is still looking after me and supporting our four girls was and is amazing and this is our way of saying thank you. Paul would have done anything to support the Hospice and he would have loved this whole event - he’d have been so proud of us for taking part.”
Wild Warriors team member Fay Eliot, 37, from Queensway, Hemel, said, “It was absolutely brilliant fun! Nine of us, all from Hemel, took part and Richard East in our team enjoyed it so much he’s gone round again!
“The best bit was sliding on our tummies down the water slide. What a great event for a great charity, which cared for my dad, Haz, in his final weeks nine years ago. We’ll definitely be coming back for more next year.”
Ben Picton, from St John’s Road, Boxmoor, took part because it’s a great cause and he lives locally. “I liked the RAF Halton guys spurring you on. I felt like I was part of the army! I got really muddy by going headfirst.”
Berkhamsted’s Annexx hair salon owner Charlotte Johnson, who led a team of four girls from the salon, which included her daughter Phoebe, 18, said, “We’ve loved every minute of the haystacks, the skips, the pools, logs and monkey bars and the fire brigade hosing us at the end! We can’t wait to come back and do it next year!
“A few of our clients, including one who’s there at the moment, have experienced the Hospice’s care,” she added. “It’s such an amazing charity and none of us know when we might need it.”
The Hospice provides free care for people living with life-limiting illnesses across Herts and Bucks, and support for their families and carers. Only 20% of its £4.8m annual running costs come from the NHS. It relies on voluntary donations for the rest.
To see DeeTV’s video of the event click here: http://www.deetv.tv/#mud-pack-challenge-2015 . To see the photo gallery of professional pictures of the event click here: http://bit.ly/1PBJuR8
The Hospice’s next big fundraiser is its annual Santa Dash, taking part at Riverside, Hemel, on Sunday 13th December, the perfect way to kick off Christmas. It’s festive fun for everyone - and all for a good claus! Sign up now at www.stfrancis.org.uk/santadash