Laps in honour of carer Linda

LindaStevenage Carers’ Support Group members braved the heat to complete a 10-hour sponsored walk challenge in memory of family carer Linda Williams and on behalf of all unpaid family and friend carers.

The group took it in turns to walk 10 laps of Fairlands Valley Park, Stevenage, with each person walking for one hour in a bid to raise £2,000 to be shared between Carers in Hertfordshire and Carers UK.

Stevenage walk June 2014They were ably supported by Carers in Hertfordshire's Michele Stokes who completed four laps, equivalent to around eight miles. Michele took over as CEO from Sue Reeve in June. 

Walk organiser and Local Carer Ambassador (Stevenage) Norman Phillips, 62, said: "Friday went better than we could have dared. It was rather humbling really. Part one of our Carers Group Quest is complete, now we have to push on to complete our Quest and that is to raise £2,000 to be shared between Carers in Herts and Carers UK."

The walk on 13 June was in memory of former group member and carer Linda Williams who died earlier this year and is also in support of all unpaid family and friend carers. 

Norman said: “Linda was at the group the first time I attended. I was nervous and I sat next to her and she made me feel welcome. It was an act of kindness. Linda was one of those people that no matter what she was dealing with in her caring role always had a kind word and was willing to listen. As a group we wanted to mark Linda's passing and a walk seemed a good way to do that. We also wanted to show carers that there is help close at hand.”

Norman and Ros PhillipsNorman gave up his job as a senior service delivery manager for a major IT company seven years ago when the demands of juggling work with caring for his wife Ros, who is disabled because of MS, became too much. He is now a full-time carer, with support from his son Mark, 43.

He said: “In the end it was impossible trying to balance paid work and being a family carer. There is nothing in my background that prepared me for the role of carer. In my case as Ros' physical ability deteriorated my caring role grew. You find yourself doing things you would never have dreamed of having to do. There is no training before you start and you learn as you go.”

Norman is now a Local Carer Ambassador (Stevenage) for Carers UK and works with Carers in Hertfordshire's Carers' Support Group in Stevenage, providing advice and information to carers in the area. For more information about the group call Carers in Hertfordshire on 01992 58 69 69. 

Main photo shows Carers in Hertfordshire CEO Michele Stokes with walk supporters. More photos from this event are on Facebook.