Nearly 1,000 people took part in Rennie Grove’s thirteenth annual Chilterns 3 Peaks Challenge, raising money to fund vital support for local families facing life-limiting illness

The walkers tackled stretches of the beautiful Ridgeway choosing one of three route options with the 20-mile route proving the most popular with around 500 people walking this distance, which takes in the stunning views from the top of Whiteleaf Cross, Coombe Hill, and Ivinghoe Beacon.

Others opted for the shorter 8 and 12 mile routes, each with the hill top views but less ground to cover in between.

Participants arrived at Princes Risborough School for staggered starts to space walkers out along the routes, with those tackling the longest 20 mile challenge arriving first.

Among them were brother and sister Sheila Coles and Nigel Anderson from Princes Risborough who are no strangers to the event, having taken it on in memory of their parents on multiple occasions.

Bucks Free Press: Brother and sister Nigel Anderson and Sheila ColesBrother and sister Nigel Anderson and Sheila Coles

Sheila said: “We’re walking because it’s an amazing charity that was so helpful and supportive to our mum and dad, 20 years ago and then eight years ago.

"On both occasions our parents were able to be at home, which was what they wanted. Rennie Grove helped fulfil that wish.”

“We’ve walked the 3 Peaks Challenge for the last 10 years; we try not to miss it. It’s just such a good charity, they deserve our support.

"Because it’s a local charity, and I know some of the nurses, that makes it even more special for us.”

Many turned up raring to ramble with friends, family and colleagues but none were a match in sheer numbers for Divyesh and his 17-strong group.

Divyesh walked with a combination of family and friends, from various locations and a range of ages, and has walked the event for the past seven years in aid of the hospice charity’s services.

Bucks Free Press: Divyesh Gadhia with family and friends on Coombe HillDivyesh Gadhia with family and friends on Coombe Hill

Divyesh said: “We’ve do have some connection with hospice care; a neighbour of ours was cared for by Rennie Grove, my mother was cared for by another hospice and my uncle, who passed away a few years ago, was given hospice care - so we understand the value of the movement and the importance of it.

"The care that Rennie Grove provides, helping fill a gap in the care system and health service is vital.

"Hospice care relies on community good will and events like these.”

Walking in memory of loved ones has been ingrained in the event since its inception 13 years ago and 2021 was no exception, with friends and family coming together to remember someone and raise vital funds for Rennie Grove.

Team Randi, of High Wycombe, walked last year as nothing more than a get together, but returned with significantly added purpose this year.

Lynne lost her husband Ray last year, only four months apart from Mark losing his wife, Andi.

Bucks Free Press: Team Randi take a moment to soak up the views from Coombe HillTeam Randi take a moment to soak up the views from Coombe Hill

Mark said: "Both Lynne and Andi were cared for by Rennie Grove, we’re walking 12 miles again, just as we did last year, but this time it’s for them.

"We’re really going to miss them, but we know they’re with us.”

“We’ve gone beyond our fundraising target, which means we’ve raised a great amount of money, but it also means our lads Harley and Matt are having to keep their side of the agreement by wearing their Super Mario costumes!”

Gill and David Winder from Penn came to the finish point to greet their son Richard and daughter Rachel who took on the 12 mile walk to give something back to the charity.

Gill, who has cancer, is currently receiving support from the hospice at home nurses who are providing care, advice and reassurance for the whole family.

She said: “The Rennie Grove nurses have been so good at putting me and my husband and family at the total centre of the journey that we’re on.

"Being able to call them at any time of day or night is so reassuring.”

Amy Chambers, Head of Fundraising Development, said: “After a scaled-down event in 2020, we were so pleased to be able to bring back all three route options this year.

"We’re in awe of our amazing walkers and so grateful for their support.

"Despite the restrictions last year, they raised an amazing £60,000 towards our specialist care in patients’ homes.

"This year, thanks to our walkers’ hard work and our generous sponsors Origin Doors and Windows and The Business Clubhouse, as well as Arriva Buses, whose staff generously volunteered to transport our 20-mile walkers back to their cars parked at Princes Risborough School, the event has already raised £79,000 and this looks set to increase.

"It’s fantastic that we have topped last year’s success, and our nurses can continue to care for those that need us at the end of life.

“We’d also like to say a big thank you to all our volunteers and marshals who greeted our walkers with friendly smiles and directed them safely on their way.

"Without their help, this hugely popular event would not be able to take place and vital funds would not be raised.

"We are very grateful to everyone involved in making the day such a success.”