A retired couple from Winchcombe, who are currently virtually walking the length of Britain in support of their local Sue Ryder hospice, have taken a small step – or giant leap – further to raise vital funds for the charity.
Jon and Jane Burchfield believe they may have found a part of the rare meteorite which crashed down to earth on 28th February, and they’ve pledged should it be worth any money that they’ll donate the proceeds to Sue Ryder Leckhampton Court Hospice as part of their walking fundraising challenge.
Jane said: “My husband came in from the garden on Tuesday carefully carrying something. I thought he was bringing me a chocolate or something but he said: ‘Look what I’ve found – could this be part of the Winchcombe meteorite?' It looks like a little BBQ briquette, so it certainly fits the bill of what scientists have told us to look out for.
“We got chatting to our neighbours about it and they asked us what we would do if it was worth any money. We thought about it and said, if it was part of the meteorite and worth anything, we’d donate the money to Sue Ryder. I volunteer there and we’re currently half-way through a walking challenge to raise funds for the charity.
“We have sent details to the scientist at the Open University who has already been to Winchcombe to investigate the crash site. Perhaps it’s nothing, but it would be fantastic if it was a meteorite find. It would be even more fantastic if it was worth something too. We all live in hope. I know how much Sue Ryder needs the support right now.”
After moving to the Cotswold town two-and-a-half years ago, Jane, 65, started volunteering at Sue Ryder Leckhampton Court Hospice.
“I have been volunteering at the hospice as a ‘weeder’. I won’t say I’m a gardener as I am not very talented! I was also a volunteer ward visitor for eight months before the coronavirus pandemic hit. The hospice is just such a friendly place full of lovely people.
“After a chance conversation with an old work colleague before Christmas who was doing a virtual walk for charity, we thought what a good idea. Why not do something similar for Sue Ryder? Funding is so challenging for them due to the pandemic and with lockdown restrictions I am not currently able to support them by volunteering.”
The couple set themselves the ‘End to End’ challenge – walking virtually from Land’s End to John O’Groats between 1st January and 31st December 2021. And on 1st January the couple stepped out of their front door for their first walk.
“We said we would put a pound in for every mile we do, and our three children will support us too,” said Jane. “We’ve got a bit carried away and so far we have covered 497 miles and raised £785.
“Because of lockdown restrictions we’ve decided not to drive our car anywhere for our walks, so every single walk is from our front door. We’re very lucky to have so many fantastic walks on our doorstep here in Winchcombe. We have been going out every single day and it’s incredibly motivating. Each time we get back we say ‘well that’s a few more pounds for Sue Ryder’. Our times are getting quicker and we’re getting fitter. There are so many hills around here, every month we’re going 23,000 more feet up too!”
And will the couple use their lockdown fundraising walks to look-out for more Winchcombe meteorite?
“We’re mixing our routes up and finding new routes and paths every day,” said Jane. “We’ve got 377 miles to cover before we complete our challenge, so if our garden-find turns out to be nothing, we’ll certainly keep an eye out for any more Winchcombe meteorite as we walk!” To donate to Jane and John's End to End fundraising challenge visit www.justgiving.com/fundraising/Jonathan-Burchfield
For more information on Sue Ryder Leckhampton Court Hospice visit www.sueryder.org/leckhampton