Two hundred and seventy people take on three-day charity trek in aid of Cambs-based cancer charity The Malcolm Whales Foundation
PUBLISHED: 10:57 07 August 2019 | UPDATED: 10:57 07 August 2019
The annual charity walk along the Dorset coast - completed by pupils and residents in East Cambridgeshire - has been hailed 'an amazing success'.
The gruelling three-day 40-mile trek begins on the promenade of Weymouth seafront and is all in aid of Cambridgeshire-based cancer charity The Malcolm Whales Foundation.
This year's event - made up with students from Ely College, Witchford Village College and Littleport and East Cambs Academy among others - is said to have raised over £50,000.
The charity was set up by Damien Whales in memory of his late father, Malcolm, who died after a battle with bowel cancer in 2008.
He said: "This year was an amazing success, again! The weather was very kind, the students and other participants were a credit to themselves and everyone they were representing.
"This year felt different, there were new schools, a dramatic jump in the numbers, over a hundred more, and the impact on each and every individual seemed much more significant.
"What started out as an 'in memory of my dad gesture' has become something quite different. The charity has grown and now raises significant amounts of money.
"The impact on the individuals that take part is astounding, so many become hooked and come back year after year.
"Quite simply it is a massive shot of positivity that hits you so hard you find yourself wanting more."
A total of 270 people took part in this year's event which happened in July and took participants along the Jurassic Coastal Path in Dorset.
The route takes walkers along the world heritage site, the Durdle Door, Lulworth Cove and Old Harry Rocks, before finishing along Studland Beech.
The event began in 2009 when the event attracted 30 people and raised £6,000. Now in its 11th year the total amount raised is in the region of £250,000. Over the years the charity has supported a number of causes, most recently it created 'The Malcolm Whales Garden' in the Woodlands Centre at Hinchingbrooke Hospital.
Following the incredible amount of sponsorship that is being raised, the charity is now desperately looking for more causes to support.
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Each year there are a number of events that occur, the walk represents the biggest. Next year's dates are July 10 and 11.
One of the students' parents said: "My daughter has come back from this experience beaming. The things she has learned and achieved from this could not have been taught in a class.
"She did find it physically challenging but equally she rose to the challenge and proved she could do it when she put her mind to it.
"I think the incentive of doing this for a good cause, raising money for those in a different kind of challenging situation added to the groups drive.
"She found the camping an amazing experience. She got off the bus on Monday and instantly said she wanted to do it next year which I think speaks for itself.
"The teachers and adults that supported the kids were fabulous. The banter between them on the live videos was hilarious. This has been an amazing experience for her."
Another attendee said: "My son George and I had the pleasure of taking part in the Dorset walk 19 and to say it was an experience is an understatement.
"There are not enough words to express the feelings, both physically and emotionally of being able to take part in such an amazing event and share it with so many.
"I am so proud of everybody who took part, especially the students and staff from Ken Stimpson.
"Thank you Damien and the The Malcolm Whales Foundation team for making it so and ultimately for the cause. Bring it on Dorset20."
Another parent added: "My daughter has just come back from taking part in the Dorset walk with the foundation.
"She found it very tough going on the hills but she did it and has come back so happy. It really gave her a confidence boost.
"I would recommend this to others to do. It's great to see such a positive impact on her and also knowing the money she has raised will help those suffering with cancer."