Sarah tackles a marathon-length trek in memory of her godmother

Sarah Funnell, 51, is a long-term supporter of Worthing hospice St Barnabas House and even met her husband Steve through fundraising for the charity, when they both signed up for the Inca Trail in 2012.

On 30 September, Sarah will join scores of others as they take to the Sussex countryside in support of their local hospices. South Downs Trek is an epic half marathon and half marathon-length challenge which has inspired people of all ages, with some signing up to increase their fitness and others walking in memory of loved ones.

Sadly, Sarah’s godmother Norma died at the hospice this year and Sarah decided to complete the marathon-length route in her memory. “Norma enjoyed social events, camping, parties and being around her family – her son, daughter and granddaughters,” says Sarah. I remember going to her house on a Sunday from an early age and playing games and having tea. She had a dry sense of humour and I loved to have a laugh with her.”

Last year, Sarah completed South Downs Trek for Norma’s husband, who received care at home from St Barnabas, “So it was only fitting that I should do it again for Norma,” she says.

“Last year I had about five months to train, and it felt like I steadily increased my fitness,” says Sarah. “This year it’s not so long, so I have jumped right in and completed a couple of fairly long walks. My day job involves a lot sitting at a desk so to get out on the Downs is just perfect. I love the views, the feeling it gives me and the incentive to build up my stamina to achieve this trek.”

Sarah has signed up on her own but hopes some of Norma’s friends might join her. In the meantime, her friend Paul – a veteran of South Downs Trek – is helping her with training – “He knows the Downs well and is very encouraging,” she says.

Sarah, who has just moved to North Lancing, particularly enjoys walking from Patching to Washington.  “It’s varied and an easy route to follow,” she says. It’s also part of the trek itself so makes me feel comfortable that I know part of the route. On the day, I am a little nervous about getting lost and not having that encouraging word in my ear from my walking buddy, Paul! But I know I have lots of support from my husband and my family, plus Norma’s family too.

“I’m really looking forward to being out on the Downs in the fresh air and being part of something to support St Barnabas.”

Help Sarah reach her fundraising target