Forest challengers get in festive spirit at West Stow
Hundreds of people dusted off their trainers to take part in a festive charity challenge at West Stow on Saturday.
Festive jumpers, tinsel and fancy dress were also worn by many of the 290 Festive Forest Challenge participants as they walked, Nordic walked or ran 10km, half-marathon or 20-mile routes through King’s Forest.
The annual challenge was organised by Kevin Marshall, of Positive Steps PT, in aid of St Nicholas Hospice Care, a cause he has supported for several years.
Sponsorship money and donations are still coming in but entry fees have already raised more than £4,000 for the Bury St Edmunds-based charity.
Jenny Baskett, hospice events and challenges fund-raiser, said: “It was absolutely brilliant, a super day. We had bands of merry elves, Father Christmas’ and Christmas puddings. People really went to town, they always do.
“It’s such a nice day, even for the people helping. It’s a really positive, fun atmosphere.
“We would like to send a massive thanks to Kevin for organising the event.”
Kevin, of Bury, said: “It’s a real privilege to organise as it provides a challenge on traffic-free forest tracks, allows everyone to have fun (when else can you run around the forest dressed as an elf?) and raises vital funds for the hospice.
“This is the third year we have organised the Festive Forest Challenge and each year it has got bigger and better as the word gets out. This is great as the amount we donate to the hospice grows each year, too.”
The 55-year-old added: “We organise 10 challenge events a year - this one along with the Bury to Clare walk in May are principally about raising funds for the hospice, with 80 per cent of the entry fee being donated.
“The success of our other events allows us to subsidise the Festive Forest Challenge and the Bury to Clare walk.”
Everyone who took part on Saturday was given a medal marking their achievement, as well as hot and cold drinks, soup and home-made cake.