900 get filthy for the Mud Pack Challenge

Tom, James and John Redburn from Berkhamsted PNL-151023-114146001
Tom, James and John Redburn from Berkhamsted PNL-151023-114146001

Nearly 900 soggy fundraisers crawled, splashed and climbed their way through five or 10 miles of muddy obstacles for The Hospice of St Francis at its second Mud Pack Challenge on Sunday.

Smiling, determined and keen to get caked in mud for charity, the fun-loving Mud Packers enjoyed more obstacles, water and mud as they completed the boggy filth fest in the grounds of Ashridge House.

A spectator squirt zone gave watching supporters the chance to be part of the muddy fun.

Twenty troops from RAF Halton, Navy reserves from HMS Wildfire and firefighters from Hemel’s Blue Watch put participants through their drills, motivating them on what was a tougher course this year, designed by personal trainer Paul Stevens.

Hospice events manager, Fran Martin, said: “A huge thank you to all our marshals, volunteers and, of course, our amazing Mud Packers, who showed fantastic determination and a great spirit of camaraderie, teamwork and fun.

“Without their support and the support of Ashridge House who provided our beautiful venue, Ashridge Gardening Team who prepared the mud, Framework Construction who provided our incredible obstacles and the NFU, AJ Cornthwaites, Top Hat Marquees, Bishops Skips, Blains Tyres, Jamvans, Mark Gent Bowsers, Paper Trail Heritage, London Midland, Barnetts Coach Hire and Little Jim’s Buses, we couldn’t have done it.

“We’re set to raise more than £140,000, which will help the hospice provide vital services for patients and families facing life-limiting illness in the hospice, at home and in the community.”

Men, women and young people took part, many of them with a personal story linked to the hospice. The biggest team of the day was the 135-strong Keohane Crew, who took part in memory of City banker Paul Keohane, who passed away at the hospice in June, at the age of 52.

Paul’s widow Eleanor, aged 43, from Rectory Lane, Berkhamsted, said: “It was such great fun. Our knees are a bit sore and battered but it couldn’t have been more worth it. The way the hospice cared for Paul, and is still looking after me and supporting our four girls was and is amazing and this is our way of saying thank you.

“Paul would have done anything to support the hospice and he would have loved this whole event. He’d have been so proud of us for taking part.”

Wild Warriors team member Fay Eliot, aged 37, from Queensway, Hemel Hempstead, said: “It was absolutely brilliant fun. Nine of us, all from Hemel, took part and Richard East in our team enjoyed it so much he’s gone round again! The best bit was sliding on our tummies down the water slide. What a great event for a great charity, which cared for my dad, Haz, in his final weeks nine years ago.

We’ll definitely be coming back for more next year.”

Watch DeeTV’s video of the event at www.deetv.tv/#mud-pack-challenge-2015 or see the photo gallery of the event at http://bit.ly/1PBJuR8