Thursday, 16 September 2021

Happy anniversary on the move

A COUPLE from Henley celebrated their wedding anniversary part way through an endurance walking challenge.

 A COUPLE from Henley celebrated their wedding anniversary part way through an endurance walking challenge.

Tony and Claire Wright, of Marmion Road, were among the thousands of walkers who took part in the Thames Path Challenge over the weekend.

They walked 100km non-stop from Putney Bridge to Henley in 31 hours and four minutes.

The challenge on Saturday and Sunday involved people walking the full 100km or 50km. They could also walk or jog a 25km course along part of the route.

After departing at 9am on Saturday, the Wrights stopped at midnight to wish each other a happy sixth wedding anniversary.

Mr Wright, 53, said: “It was tough going and, like many other entrants, we suffered from fatigue and blisters.

“Knowing my wife might need a lift during the night I had purchased a gift and card for her.

“The sixth year traditional gift is iron but I did not want to carry anything too heavy, so I bought a tiny, metal ‘heart’ from Vinegar Hill. This seemed to do the trick.”

The couple finished at Mill Meadows in Henley at 4.04pm on Sunday.

Mr Wright, a company director, added: “We rounded off a very tiring weekend with an evening meal at Hotel du Vin, which we had to take a taxi to.”

The couple raised more than £2,000 for Cancer Research UK. They were walking in memory of Mrs Wright’s father Ron Field, from Birmingham. To make a donation, visit

Meanwhile, a team of walkers from the Physiolistic clinic in Greys Road, Henley, raised more than £7,500.

The staff were joined by patients, friends and members of their families for the challenge.

The team included Henley residents Angela Botha and Clint Botha, of Manor Road, Sarah Girling, of West Street, Zoe Lane, of Hamilton Avenue, Erika Borlase, of Swiss Farm, Jo Oldham, of Blandy Road, Julia Davies, of Upton Close, and Laryssa Rainboth, of St Andrew’s Road, as well as Pauline Elkington, Sally Wiggins, Liz Wood and Marika Perkins, all from Peppard, and Neil Hutt, from Stoke Row.

They were raising money for a number of charities including Headway Thames Valley, Parkinson’s UK and Arthritis Research UK. The team was put together by Mrs Botha, who runs the clinic, after she was diagnosed with inflammatory arthritis two years ago.

“It was my way of proving it’s not the end,” she said.

“It was an amazing end to the challenge with the mist lifting as we got to Henley with beautiful blue skies for our finish.

“Everyone was incredibly friendly along the towpath and shouting words of encouragement — that carried us over the finish line!

“The event was extremely well organised and every aspect of your welfare was catered for — great food, good medical care and blisters and extremely well signposted and lit up at night.”

Her husband said: “The Thames Path Challenge offered an opportunity to support both my wife, who was diagnosed with arthritis, a disease which can be debilitating for many people, and to raise money for a worthy cause such as Arthritis Research UK.

“While the completion of the challenge was an achievement, it was the many friendships we developed in our walking group which was the best part.”

All 12 members who started the walk completed it in under 28 hours.

To donate, go to www.just

Two brothers orginally from Henley completed the 100km walk in 22 hours and five minutes.

Matt and Simon Bradley were walking in aid of Pancreatic Cancer UK in memory of their father Ken, who died from the disease five years ago, aged 59.

They were met at the finish line by their mother Kim, Matt’s partner Holly and their seven-month-old son Torin, Simon’s partner Sarah and their daughter Sophie.

Matt, who now lives in Caversham, said: “It was horrendous, truly horrendous.

“We got to about 60km and something pinged in my foot. I thought it was all over but they managed to bandage it and save me.

“We were met on a couple of breaks by our families and they would bring us changes of socks and keep us going. They also met us at the finish even though it was very early, which was fantastic.”

Matt had only three hours’ sleep after finishing as he had to attend Sophie’s first birthday party on Sunday.

To donate, visit

A team of walkers from the Sue Ryder hospice in Nettlebed completed various distances.

Tracey Hancock, head of hospice fundraising, completed the 100km walk in 23 hours and 38 minutes.

Mrs Hancock, who lives in Henley, said: “It was a real team effort and we all helped each other get to the finish line.

“To have raised such an amazing amount has helped us forget our sore feet and aching legs! We were being notified of donations as were walking, which was such a boost when we were struggling. A huge thank-you to all those who sponsored us.”

Eleven employees, who were called Team Incredible, took part in the challenge and so far have raised £11,292.

To donate, visit

Hayley Stevens, deputy head of Denning Montessori Nursery and Forest School in Fawley, completed the 100km walk.

She was raising money for the Teenage Wilderness Trust, a Henley charity that supports students who find it difficult to engage with mainstream education.

She was greeted at the finish by her husband Simon and children, Lucy, Luke and Jamie, and friends Charlotte Clarke and Jenny Blain, founder of the school.

Mrs Blain said: “We are all so proud of Hayley.”

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