Hospital workers aim to walk 630 miles to help preserve coastal pathways

News Desk
Authored by News Desk
Posted: Monday, March 4, 2024 - 14:45

Staff from Practice Plus Group Hospital, Plymouth, previously known locally as the Peninsula Treatment centre, have laced up their boots to kick-off a 630-mile walking challenge spanning the next 12 months, which aims to raise £1500 for the South West Coast Path Association (SWCPA).

Having chosen SWCPA as its ‘charity of the year,’ the hospital team aims to ace their challenge by totting up 630 collective miles, representing the length of the coastal path. The funds raised will preserve a 1-mile section of the route and earn the team a ‘mile maker’ accolade from the charity.

Double Hip Replacement Walker

Practice Plus Group Hospital specialises in hip and knee replacements and getting people who have been suffering in pain and unable to walk, back to their best.

One such patient, Helen, who had her second hip replacement at the hospital, is now working at the hospital as a receptionist. “I never thought I’d be able to participate in something like this a few years ago, says Helen”. “Six months after my successful hip operation, I was back walking the South West Coast path – so this charity event has come at a great time, and to complete it with the team who helped me to get back to physical health will be really special.” 

Sarah-Jane Fell, Hospital Director at Practice Plus Group, Plymouth, says, “We chose to support the South West Coast Path Association this year because of its link with nature, relaxation, and exercise, which are all beneficial to both colleagues and patients. We wanted to help raise funds to ensure that the paths can be maintained and enjoyed for years to come.”

She adds, “Who knows, having replaced more than 10,000 knees in Plymouth over the years and a vast number of hips, I’d like to think that we may bump into some familiar faces along the Path of patients that came to us for surgery. It would be wonderful to see them enjoying walks too!”

Throughout the challenge, colleagues from the Plymouth-based hospital – which offers NHS treatment as well as a private option called Wellsoon - will build up their mileage along the popular scenic pathway which begins at Minehead and follows the coastline to Poole Harbour.

So far, staff, along with their families, friends, and four-legged companions, have embraced the winter weather to kick-off the challenge by walking a collective 57 miles – 9% of target - and have many more walks in the diary.

About the route: The South West Coast Path is renowned for being a source of inspiration and a beacon of hope during challenging times. The Association strives to maintain the walkways for all to enjoy safely and help preserve this iconic location for locals and tourists alike.  The route takes on average 7-8 weeks to complete (if walking consistently) and includes landmarks such as The Mayflower Steps, Thatcher’s Rock and Durdle Door.

Will Keen, Fundraising Manager, South West Coast Path Association, says, “It’s wonderful to be chosen as Practice Plus Group Hospital, Plymouth’s charity of the year. We are delighted that the staff, and their family and friends, are enthusiastic about raising funds for us this year and planning lots of beautiful walks along the South West Coast Path. Our charity relies on the support of others to protect and champion this world class trail for visitors to enjoy all year round. We know so many people benefit from time outdoors; soaking in the scenery and boosting their mental well-being, fitness goals and helping bring loved ones together during leisure time. We look forward to seeing the staff’s progress throughout the challenge.”

If you would like to help boost the fundraising total, please donate by popping a donation into the charity tins at the hospital. For more information about the South West Coastal Path,