Beachy Head Marathon for Demelza support workers

Chestnut Tree children's hospice fundraiser SUS-160929-124923001
Chestnut Tree children's hospice fundraiser SUS-160929-124923001

A pair of charity workers are limbering up to take on the trek of their lives.

The Eastbourne Beachy Head Marathon is one of the biggest off-road marathons in the UK and takes place this year on October 29.

Jo Taylor and Katie Wilmshurst, both in Demelza’s community nursing team in East Sussex, are among those getting into shape for the 26.2 mile trek along a challenging route through the South Downs National Country Park.

Katie from Hailsham has roped her mum Karen Wilmshurst nto the mission, while Jo has persuaded husband Rob to share in her pain. The girls have set themselves a target of £515.

Jo said, “Katie and I are really excited to be walking the Beachy Head marathon. We are also aware of what a huge challenge this is and Rob and I definitely need to get in a few long practice walks beforehand.”

Katie, who, like Jo, is also a support worker to families in East Sussex who have children with life-limiting or life-threatening illness, said, “I’ve done a few fun runs and a 10K for Demelza – but never anything as far as this. Hopefully, by walking and jogging, we can complete the course in about seven hours – in daylight.”

Thousands of people are expected to take part in the marathon, which includes more than 300 steps and 14 gates, passing through Jevington, Alfriston, Litlington, Friston Forest, the Cuckmere Valley and Seven Sisters, including Birling Gap and Beachy Head.

Julie Brett, Demelza’s community fundraiser in East Sussex, said, “Jo and Katie already give so much of their time and love to our Demelza families, it’s just brilliant that they are willing to literally go the extra mile by training and taking part in this marathon feat – all in their own time.”

Demelza aims to make life better for babies, children and young people who have life-threatening or life-limiting conditions, and to support their parents, brothers, sisters, and all those who love them.

The charity has been providing this care since 1998 and, through the generosity of others, can continue to be there for families for years to come.

It relies on donations and fundraising activities to continue its wok.

The Eastbourne Beachy Head Marathon is popular for its particularly scenic, if challenging, route along the coastal path.

There is a 10K option for those who don’t think they can manage the full course.

Both races start from St Bede’s School in Eastbourne.

For further details, visit

To donate, visit

Find out more about Demelza at

Keep up to date on social media by following the charity on Facebook at or @demelzahospice on Twitter.

Don’t miss out on all the latest breaking news where you live. Here are four ways you can be sure you’ll be amongst the first to know what’s going on.

1 Make our website your homepage at

2 Like our Facebook page at

3 Follow us on Twitter @Eastbournenews

4 Register with us by clicking on ‘sign in’ (top right corner).

You can then receive our daily newsletter AND add your point of view to stories that you read here. And do share with your family and friends - so they don’t miss out!

The Eastbourne Herald - always the first with your local news. Be part of it.