Thursday, 19 October 2017

Sport Relief relay baton walked through Henley

FIVE women took part in a charity walk from Shiplake to Henley — and became friends.

Amanda Jennings, Melissa Jolly, Susanna Scott, Nellie Williams and Niki McGlynn were raising money for Sport Relief by joining the Team Honk relay in which a baton is being carried from Land’s End to John o’ Groats by 45 different teams.

Mrs Jennings, 40, an author from Binfield Heath, and her sister Mrs Jolly, 37, a garden designer from Kidmore End, volunteered to take part on Twitter.

They were accepted by the organisers and grouped with Mrs Scott, 49, of St Andrew’s Road, Henley, who founded blog site BritMums, and Mrs Williams and Mrs McGlynn, from Wokingham.

Mrs Jennings and Mrs Jolly started the day at 9.40am on Friday by cycling from Reading station to Shiplake College, where they joined up with the rest of the team as well as students and TV presenter Katy Hill.

They were presented with a cheque for £300, which students at the school raised through a parent-teacher association raffle and a chocolate truffle sale.

The team then walked to the Angel on the Bridge pub in Henley, where they passed the baton on to Vanessa Holburn, a health journalist from Twyford, and Polly Kemp and Carrie Hoskins, both from Henley.

Mrs Jennings said: “It feels like a community event as everyone is supporting each other no matter how short or long their part of the route.

“Lots of people have been tweeting about it and it has been trending on Twitter.

“Melissa and I were originally going to canoe from Reading to Shiplake but decided to cycle because of the flooding.

“Next year we would like to do something for Comic Relief.” The women wore Sport Relief onesies for the walk and Mrs Williams kept a vow of silence until she reached Henley.

She said: “I was silent for four hours and it was really hard. I’m normally only ever silent when I’m asleep and even then I sometimes talk in my sleep.

“The reason I did it was because I originally thought it was called Talk Relief and thought it would be ironic.”

The women, who raised almost £1,000, attached a personalised ribbon to the baton to go with the others that will be added before the relay reaches John o’ Groats on March 23.

Mrs Jennings said: “We didn’t really know each other before the walk but we are good friends now.

“We want to say thank-you to the headmaster of Shiplake College and for the support we received from the local radio station. It kept going through all the terrible weather.”

The 3,000-mile relay was organised by a team of Sport Relief bloggers who visited Ghana last year and hope it will raise £20,000.

Last month, a Team Honk group in Milton Keynes completed their leg of the challenge with an elephant, while the London team visited the real versions of every site on the Monopoly board.

To make a donation, visit my.sportrelief.com/sponsor/readingteamhonk or text HONK to 70005.

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