Friends join widow on Big Walk for hospice

WIDOW Vikki Strachan was grateful to be able to keep her promise to her 45-year-old husband that he would die at home.

Vikki Strachan, Karen Etherington and Caroline Field, the 37ers
Vikki Strachan, Karen Etherington and Caroline Field, the 37ers

The Hospice at Home Team at St Wilfrid’s Hospice in Chichester helped her to keep that promise earlier this year and now she has thanked them by presenting a cheque for more than £3,000.

Guy Strachan, a living walls designer from Bognor Regis, died on June 27, the day after his birthday, from an aggressive melanoma.

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Vikki, 39, said: “It happened so fast and St Wilfrid’s really helped me. Without the support and help from the home care team, Guy would have had to have gone into the hospice.

The team with the cheque for £3,026.45

“My promise to him was that he could stay at home and myself and his father, Roy, would care for him. We were able to keep that promise thanks to these amazing people. I cannot praise them enough.”

Vikki, a teacher, moved from Horsham to Bognor Regis in January, 2008, to be near her work.

“I knew no-one in the area and met Guy online,” she said. “We instantly clicked and married in 2012. Guy was a printer at the time but his passion was plants and horticulture. He landed the perfect job with Biotecture and helped to create their living walls – later he even designed some.

“The company has created pieces for Chelsea Flower Show and many other businesses and private buyers across the world. He really was a one-of-a-kind guy who I miss every minute of the day, but was so lucky to have married.”

Since Guy died, Vikki has moved back to live with her family in Southwater. To thank the Hospice at Home team, and aid her own recovery, Vikki organised a Big Walk with friends to raise money for the hospice. She planned a 37½-mile route from Shoreham to Guildford, following the Downs Link, over two days.

“I remembered Guy and I had cycled parts of the Downs Link, the old railway line between Shoreham and Guildford, and that he had always mentioned how he would like to complete the whole 37½miles one day,” she explained.

“So it was decided, 37½ miles over the bank holiday weekend in August, walking from Shoreham to St Martha’s Hill.

“On the Saturday, myself and others walked the section from Shoreham to Southwater. The weather was glorious, even though we did finish in the rain.

“Two of my friends, Karen Etherington and Caroline Field, then completed the final 21 miles with me from Southwater to St Martha’s Hill on the Sunday, joined along the route by a number of friends and family.

“We raised over £3,000 for St WIlfrid’s Hospice, which is spectacular. Many thanks to Emma Fox, Brenda Fox, Hannah Harrison, Alex Beale, Jo and Simon Bezants, and special thanks to my 37ers Karen Etherington and Caroline Field and an extra special mention to my mum and dad, Sally and Tony Beale, who supported every day with walking, driving and providing moral support, and the drinks and nibbles, too.

“We reached St Martha’s Hill to flags, cheers and prosecco. I know Guy was walking with us and I hope we have done him proud.”

Avril Robinson, head of fundraising and communications at St Wilfrid’s, said the hospice was incredibly grateful to Vikki and her friends for their support.

“It’s really great that Vikki has organised this and inspired her friends to come together to walk and raise money in memory of her husband, Guy.

“This money means a great deal to us because we receive just 13 per cent of our funding from the NHS, therefore relying on the community to raise 87 per cent of our annual running costs, which this year will be just under £6.7million.”

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