When it was decided to hold a St Giles Orange Week to celebrate our 35th anniversary, as a community engagement manager, I thought about how we could do something that would engage with our communities, something a bit different.

As a cyclist, cycling featured heavily in my initial thoughts, but it wasn’t really conducive to engaging with our communities.  It was then (in a moment of sheer madness) that I hit on the idea of doing a walk and just chatting to people as I went along.  The more I thought about it, the more legs it had (literally).  But where could I walk to or from?  I sat in front of the computer one evening and started plotting a route and discovered the one I had in mind was exactly thirty five miles.

The plan was in place, I would start at our main site in Whittington, walk to Walsall, then on to our Supportive Care Centre in Sutton Coldfield before heading back to Whittington, and I’d do it all in a day!  One afternoon I was chatting to Katie Taroni our Director of Nursing about my plans and Katie said she would join me.

So, at 0600 on Monday 9th July, 5 years to the day since I started work at St Giles,  Katie and I will start our community walk from the front of St Giles Hospice in patient unit.  I’m not expecting crowds of people to see us off, most normal people would be tucked up in bed at that time.  We are hoping to be joined by some of our colleagues along the route and the community engagement team are providing our vehicular back up for the day.

We expect to be in Lichfield by about 7am, Chase Terrace School by about 0830 and after walking through Pelsall, reach St Giles Walsall by 11am.  We then head off to Sutton Coldfield and our Supportive Care Centre, walking along Streetly Lane, Four Oaks Road and Lichfield Road, with our feet firmly on Supportive Care Centre soil by 1430.  We then have around ten miles left before we’re back at Whittington!

St Giles Hospice are firmly committed to supporting communities and we want to spread the word about some of our ‘safety net’ services that support people in our catchment area and doing it by way of a 35 mile community walk seems a great way.  Katie and I will be easy to spot as we have both committed to wearing as much orange as possible, so keep an eye out for us, say hello and learn more about the work of St Giles Hospice.