Hardy hikers have raised over £40,000 for Colchester & Ipswich Hospitals Charity after pulling on their walking boots and trekking across the Essex and Suffolk countryside during the annual Hospital Hero Hike.

More than 300 people enjoyed the sunshine whilst covering the 21-mile distance between Colchester and Ipswich hospitals on Sunday (30 April).

Every penny they raised will support staff wellbeing and other services across East Suffolk and North Essex NHS Foundation Trust (ESNEFT), which runs the hospitals and a range of community services.

The hike gave participants the chance to enjoy beautiful countryside while walking side-by-side with NHS staff, getting fit and raising funds. At the halfway point, they were treated to much-needed drinks and refreshments by the charity, and motivated onwards by the ESNEFT Wellbeing Team.

Karen Large, general manager for ESNEFT’s community nursing and therapy for rural Suffolk, joined the hike with occupational therapist daughter Amy.

She said: “It’s a family affair! Ipswich Hospital has been a big part of our lives as a family. I started my nurse training at Ipswich in 1984 and met my husband there in 1985.

“As I approach my career twilight years, our children are following in the family footsteps and two of our daughters now work at the hospital.

“We are so glad we took part in the walk. We did it not only for our wellbeing but to give something back to the hospital in the hope that it continues to be a place where careers are built and future generations can continue to provide excellent care to those who need it.”

Daniel Bailey, senior fundraising manager for Colchester & Ipswich Hospitals Charity, said: “We always feel very humbled when our community support us with such enthusiasm. The money will make a real difference to the wellbeing of our staff and benefit other services across our hospitals and community sites.

“We would like to say a huge thank you all the supporters that helped make the event such a success, including our generous sponsors Lion Walk Shopping Centre, Colchester. We can’t wait to do it all again next year!”

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