About 600 soggy fundraisers waded, crawled, clambered and vaulted their way through nearly five miles of muddy obstacles to raise more than £100,000 in a new charity event.
It is thought that the first Mud Pack Challenge – held in the grounds of Ashridge House on Sunday – raised more than £100,000 for Berkhamsted-based The Hospice of St Francis.
Organiser Fran Martin said: “We are so close to reaching £100k, which will pay for two community nurses for a whole year to visit patients in their homes, in care and nursing homes, in GP surgery outreach clinics and as outpatients in our Spring Centre.
“Everyone who took part deserves every penny of their sponsorship. What they put themselves through for the patients and families we care for is amazing.
“So far we know we have raised just under £100k through Just Giving donations and registration fees. With one final push, we can nudge it over that magic figure.”
Fran said the event will now become a firm fixture in the charity’s fundraising calendar.
She said: “We just couldn’t have hoped for a more perfect day with more passionate support.
“The team spirit, buzz and atmosphere was phenomenal and the feedback from all our Mud Packers has been fantastic.
“A huge thank you to Paul Stevens PT who designed such a fabulous course and to Ashridge House for providing the most incredible venue.
“We’ve been overwhelmed by the generosity and support we’ve received from local businesses donating their time and equipment.
“Framework provided the scaffolding for our obstacles, NFU & Icknield Farm provided the hay bales, Blanes leant us over 200 Tyres & Futurelink sponsored our T-shirts.
“Huge thanks must also go to all our Mudpackers, sponsors, volunteers, marshals, obstacle providers and stallholders for making it happen – we couldn’t have done it without you!”
Men and women from all over the hospice’s catchment and beyond took part, all of them for fun and many of them with a personal story linked to the hospice.
Boxmoor Primary School mums Seema Deshpande, 36, Lydia Baker, 26, Nicola Casserley, 41, and Dominique Wollington, 38, run as the I Thought It Was a Spa Day team.
Seema said: “We were having so much fun we didn’t want it to end!
“It was absolutely brilliant. We’re definitely doing it again and next year we’re bringing the dads!”
A huge team of 22, Girlz4D, from Redbourn, raised more than £17,000 in memory of popular dad-of-three Darren Duddy, who died aged 44 at the hospice in February.
Team leader Lesley Kinsella, who took part with Darren’s widow Sian, said: “Darren would have loved this event.
“He would have done it walking on his hands and in a heartbeat for someone else. It’s been emotional but it’s been so much fun and it’s our way of showing Sian we are here for her.
“We loved every minute of the haystacks, the skips, the pools, logs and monkey bars and the fire brigade hosing us at the end! We can’t wait to come back and do it next year!”
The hospice provides free care for people living with life-shortening illnesses across Herts and Bucks, and supports their families and carers. This care costs £4.7m a year to fund and only 20% comes from the NHS, with voluntary donations making up the rest.
If you would like to donate to help make a difference to people who need its support now and in the future, text MUDP14 £10 to 70070.