A Shropshire schoolgirl is walking from one end of the UK to the other without leaving her hometown to raise money for us after we cared for her mum.
Imogen Leith, or Immy as she is known, is just 11 years old but she is not letting her age or lockdown beat her and is determined to finish her marathon, 874-mile-long walk – the distance from Land’s End to John o’ Groats.
Her story has been featured in the local media, in magazines and even on national television and by April she had raised more than £26,000.
Her mum Kerry passed away last June after being diagnosed with mouth cancer. She was cared for by members of our Hospice at Home and Outreach teams who allowed the family to spend precious time together during Kerry’s final days.
Immy started racking up the miles last month and has already walked more than 180 miles around her hometown of Bridgnorth.
The Castlefields Primary School youngster is joined on her walks either by her dad Richard or her brother Josh and sister Rebecca.
“After Kerry died, Immy said she wanted to do a challenge and raise money for the hospice,” said Richard. “I said she should decide what she wanted to do, never imagining it would be the Land’s End to John o’ Groats journey. But she was determined, a trait she shares with Kerry, and that was it.
“So, we began our walks in January and haven’t looked back. I usually go with her but other times it is friends or family. There is always someone with her, but she never needs encouraging to keep going. In fact, she encourages me. She tells me ‘Come on dad, just one more mile’.
“We walk around Bridgnorth and I’m now discovering bits of the area I never knew were there. We have the best time, walking, talking, and laughing. There are no phones, just us and it is wonderful.
“We are forever indebted to Severn Hospice for the care and love they gave to Kerry. It is a debt we can never repay, but we will do what we can to let them know how grateful we are for their support. They made an enormous difference to me and Kerry and the children, they allowed us to be a family at an exceedingly difficult time and without them our memories would be vastly different.”
Jess Druce, area fundraiser said: “Support such as Immy’s is so important to us, particularly in the moment and she is an absolute star for deciding to walk so far.
“She has done so well and has shown real determination and we wish her well with the rest of her challenge. Thank you so much Immy, your whole family must be so proud of you and we are too.”
If you would like to show your support for Immy and donate to her JustGiving page, go to justgiving.com/fundraising/imogen-leith3