Gallery: Hundreds turn out for Mercury Mendip Challenge

PUBLISHED: 10:24 15 June 2012 | UPDATED: 10:51 15 June 2012

The massed ranks of the Allard, Davies, Banks, Sheridan and Rowse families dressed as cops and robbers.

The massed ranks of the Allard, Davies, Banks, Sheridan and Rowse families dressed as cops and robbers.


WALKERS of all ages and backgrounds were united in the torrential rain on Sunday as they took part in the annual Mercury Mendip Challenge.

The challenge, now in its 22nd year, saw more than 750 competitors complete five, 10, 20 or 30-mile routes.

Weston Athletic Club took the honours with two of its members, Bryan Morley (five hours 30 seconds) and Cheryl Valentine (six hours 20 minutes), finishing first in the men’s and women’s 30-mile category.

But as well as being a physical challenge, the emphasis is on charity. Everyone had their own story to tell and their own reason for braving the torrid weather to complete the Mercury-backed event in aid of Weston Hospicecare.

Among the intrepid walkers and runners was Barbara Gillard who took part in memory of her husband Roy, who died on Christmas Day last year.

She was joined by friends Margaret and Beverly Webb and daughters Julie and Danielle Loud, despite the latter being six months pregnant.

Each competitor had their own remarkable tale to tell - no more so than Carol Gardener.

Two years ago she suffered a fractured skull and severe burns after a steam pipe exploded next to her while on holiday in Spain.

The accident in August 2010 initially left her needing to use a wheelchair, but on Sunday she joined hundreds of others to complete the five-mile walk.

Weston Hospicecare hopes to raise £50,000 this year which would be enough to provide the community palliative care nursing service for one month and the children’s bereavement service for five months.

And with an estimated £3million expenditure each year - of which the NHS contributes less than a fifth - the charitable efforts were greatly appreciated and will go towards helping more than 1,300 people in North Somerset and surrounding villages.

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