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PR: Guy power! – thousands of men on the march for hospice care

St Luke's Men's Day Out 2022
Men’s Day Out 2022 – your highlight’s

A multitude of men gathered in solidarity at the weekend to show their support for one of Plymouth’s best-loved charities and the specialist service it provides for local families.

St Luke’s Hospice Plymouth’s sell-out event Men’s Day Out, which returned on Saturday 23 April, saw 2,000 men walk a 12km route, starting and finishing at Plymouth Albion RFC. With many stepping out in memory of loved ones cared for by the charity, the annual event is the biggest men’s charity walk in the South West, if not the whole of the UK.

Sponsored by JEM Scaffolding Ltd, the day of fun and banter was enjoyed by men of all ages and fitness levels, raising much-needed funds to help St Luke’s continue its compassionate care for local people with terminal illness in their last months, weeks and days of life.

The charity, which has been providing its service free of charge to patients for 40 years, relies on the support it receives from the community to do this. Looking after people with cancer, motor neurone disease and other progressive, life-limiting conditions, the hospice team provides not only expert medical care but vital emotional support for patients and their relatives and friends, making a difference at the toughest of times.

Importantly, Men’s Day Out gives the guys who take part the opportunity to talk as well as walk, supporting each other and sharing memories of those close to them who have died but will never be forgotten. Recognising that it is often the case that men struggle to reach out for support when they need it, this year’s event was also attended by national mental health charity Samaritans.

Participant Darren West from Plympton, who was walking in memory of his mum, said: “The atmosphere at Men’s Day Out is really relaxed, and as guys we find it easier to chat with each other over a beer. I think the event has a very positive effect in that way as well as raising money for such an important cause.”

Among the other men taking part was Jared Lovell from Derriford, walking in memory of his grandmother Sandra Cross, who was looked after by the hospice at home before sadly, she died in 2020.

Jared, who was walking with his stepdad Dean Roberts, said: “Nan was such a special person, who always saw the best in people and brought out the best in them, too. She was the matriarch of the family and the glue that held us all together.

“The care she received from St Luke’s at home at the end of her life was superb and it helped granddad, too, easing some of the pressure on him. Doing Men’s Day Out is a great way to give something back to the charity that helped our family just as it does for so many others.”

Also taking part was Antony King from Plympton, walking in tribute to his father-in-law, Adrian. Antony, who was joined on the walk by friend Kevin Wearne, said: “Adrian was an amazing man. He was very intellectual and outgoing, and he loved travelling to Italy with his wife Mary. When he got cancer, it was a such a difficult time so we were really grateful when the hospice team got involved.

“Adrian was looked after by St Luke’s at Turnchapel and then they cared for him at home because that’s where he wanted to spend his last days. St Luke’s staff are second to none and Plymouth is very lucky to have them. That’s why we support the charity as much as can through events like Men’s Day Out, Tour de Moor and Open Gardens.”

Nina Wearne, Partnerships Manager at St Luke’s, said: “There is something very heart-warming about seeing so many men turn out in support of St Luke’s, and with 2022 being our charity’s 40th anniversary year, this time it felt even more special.

“A huge thank-you to everyone who took part and raised thousands of pounds to help us meet the rising cost of providing our service for families across Plymouth and its surrounding areas. We are also very grateful to the local companies who get behind our event and, of course, to our all our wonderful volunteers, who kindly give their time to help the day run smoothly.

“Such kindness from our community has kept St Luke’s going for the past 40 years, and income generated from our events, including Men’s Day Out, will help us continue doing what we do best, looking after people with terminal illness so they can make the most of every day and create precious memories with the people who matter most to them.”

Register your interest for Men’s Day Out 2023