Helen Trott and Matt Grant set off at 8am on Friday for a walk that took them over the South Downs Way, journeying from Arundel to Upper Beeding.
Helen, 26, works at The Rising Sun in Upper Beeding and she set up the Helen’s Rubbish Facebook page, to collect and recycle unwanted clothes, plastics and more for charity.
She said Christmas had become ‘an excuse to buy excessively and waste excessively’, which was why she had chosen to do something completely different this year and give back to a local charity at the same time.
Partner Matt, 26, a personal trainer at South Coast Gym in Upper Beeding, wanted them to spend Christmas Day together, so he asked to join her on her quest.
Helen, posting on her Instagram blog thenotsosecretlifeofhelen, said: “From start to finish, well done to Matt for completing the 26 miles. I managed 21 before my legs stopped working, which isn’t bad considering I have the hips and knees of a 90-year-old.
“We managed to raise so much money for charity and I am so, so, so thankful for everyone getting involved and donating. It really means the world.”
So far £1,636 has been raised via www.justgiving.com/fundraising/helenandmattschristmasmarathon but there is still time to donate.
Helen said it was an easy decision to make, forgoing a relaxing day at home for lacing up her walking boots and stepping out to support the hospice and honour the doctors and nurses who were working on Christmas Day.
She explained: “This year has been hard for a lot of people and I know charities have suffered with cancelled events and shops being closed, so I wanted to do something big to raise money for St Barnabas House, who have been there for close friends and family during devastating times, including my nan and my best friend’s mum.
“I love the outdoors and I thought a marathon-length walk might be a good challenge that I can do locally. I was planning to do it alone but my partner, Matt, said he would like to spend the day with me, so he’s been breaking in his new walking boots.”
Matt and Helen agreed that rather than giving and receiving presents this year, they would focus their time and effort on raising enough to reach their goal of £1,000.
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