7th September 2021 — They came, they saw, they conquered – and they raised a whole heap of cash for charity along the way.
Intrepid Highfield and Brookham Schools teachers Sophie Baber, Kerri Wilkes, Georgie Hunter and Georgie Cooke-Priest battled through fatigue, sore feet and blisters to complete the gruelling 100k South Coast Challenge in aid of Highfield Highreach Holidays.
Walking non-stop overnight last Saturday and into Sunday, the fearless four marched from Eastbourne in East Sussex to Arundel in West Sussex, raising a whopping £3,815 for Highreach, a volunteer-run charity which offers week-long residential holidays for disabled children.
The 62-mile route took the hardy hikers from the Liphook schools along the majestic cliffs of Beachy Head and the Seven Sisters before following the famous South Downs Way north of Brighton and onto the stunning Devil’s Dyke beauty spot, ending their epic quest in the historic market town of Arundel.
Mrs Baber, Headteacher at Brookham Pre-prep and Nursery, said: “That is without doubt one of the toughest things that I have ever done, but it’s also one of the very best things that I have done, and I couldn’t have wished for better people to walk with.
“We had highs and lows and we had tears of joy, laughter and pain, but we were all so incredibly determined to battle on to the very end no matter what to raise as much money as we could for our brilliant Highfield Highreach Holidays charity, which does so much fantastic work for disabled children and their dedicated carers.”
The South Coast Challenge fundraising link is still live and Mrs Baber is hopeful that the final total may yet still top an astonishing £4,000.
“Thank you so much to everyone who has donated so far,” she said, “we were absolutely blown away when we finished our walk and realised just how much people had raised. The thought that it may still go even higher is really beyond our wildest dreams.”
Operating since 2016, Highfield Highreach Holidays keeps costs low for families by raising funds throughout the year to cover more than half of the cost of the holidays, while all the staff are volunteers. Last month, 24 Old Highfieldians returned to their former prep school to volunteer for the week, and they were joined by seven pupils from Churcher’s College in Petersfield who were providing key support as part of their Duke of Edinburgh’s Award Scheme work.
To donate to the charity walk, visit gofundme.com/f/hhh-south-coast-challenge.