There are many reasons why people might sign up for Weston Hospicecare’s Mendip Challenge, which is set to take place on Sunday, 4th June 2017. While many of the participants have a direct tie to the hospice and are simply keen to support its work, there are also those who just want to challenge themselves physically on this 10, 20 or 30 mile trek across the West Mendip Way. But one group of women have given a rather unique reason for taking part in the annual sponsored walk: They’re celebrating a birthday.

Jo Simmons, who lives in Banwell, said that she and her friends decided to take on the Mendip Challenge for their friend Rachel Alexander’s 40th birthday.

‘We have a team of five so far,’ Jo said. ‘We’ve done Race for Life’s Pretty Muddy event for the last three years under the team name ‘Some Mudders Do ‘Ave Um”, and we thought that doing the Mendip Challenge would be a fab change!’

Although the group has participated in events together before, they did mention that they’re more ‘ambling with dogs’ kind of walkers as opposed to walking on a professional level — which is particularly fitting for this dog-friendly event.

‘We thought this would be a perfect challenge and a memorable way of celebrating our friend’s 40th,’ Jo said.

The team currently includes Jo, Tracey Pullinger (who lives in Worle), Louisa Bates (who lives in Bridgwater), Claire Vallis (who lives in Banwell) and, of course, the birthday gal, Rachel Alexander (who lives in Clevedon). The group, which is hoping to raise £500, will be decked out in their specially designed T-shirts on the day.

‘Whether you’re celebrating a birthday, walking in memory of a loved one or just want to see the beautiful sights that the Mendip area has to offer, we hope you’ll join us on 5th June for our 28th Mendip Challenge,’ said Kelsey Dehaney, event coordinator for Weston Hospicecare. ‘This fantastic day of walking helps us raise much-needed funds to support the work we do, both at the hospice and our in our local communities.’

To find out more about their story or to help support their fundraising efforts, please visit If you’d like to register for the Mendip Challenge, please visit


Note: A version of this story was published by the Weston Mercury on 28th April 2017. To read it, please click here.

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