Joyce, 104, takes on fundraising walkathon

Hitchin Foxholes Care Home resident Joyce Birrell, 104

Joyce Birrell, 104, took part in a walkathon to raise money for a minibus for Foxholes Care Home, where she is a resident - Credit: Courtesy of Foxholes Care Home

A remarkable 104-year-old joined in a sponsored walk to help raise money for a much-needed minibus for the care home where she lives.

Residents and staff at Foxholes Care Home in Hitchin took part in a walkathon to raise funds towards buying a disabled-friendly minibus.

The goal of completing 104 laps of the estate's grounds was set in honour of Foxholes' oldest resident - Joyce Birrell, who is a spritely 104 years old.

Caregiver Emma Coates took 12 hours and 49 minutes to complete the 104 laps, and was joined and cheered by residents and fellow staff throughout the day.

Joyce, who was a first aid responder during the Second World War, joined Emma on her final lap, much to the delight of all those involved at the home.

Emma said: “Thank you to all those who participated and helped me complete the 104 laps. After almost 13 hours, I finally crossed the line with Joyce and her son Mike, to amazing applause and celebration.

"The support has been incredible and I can’t thank everyone involved enough for all their hard work in helping host the event and get us closer to our fundraising target.”

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Resident Audrey Cornell, 96, completed a lap in the fastest time, looping around the grounds in an impressive four minutes and 40 seconds.

The walkathon has raised more than £300 towards acquiring a minibus equipped with a wheelchair ramp, adaptable seats, removable seats for wheelchairs, and a toilet, making it more accessible, and suitable for residents to enjoy year-round day trips.

Neil Gandecha, estate manager at Foxholes, said: "We’ve wanted a new vehicle for a while, as the one we currently have is very small and can only fit four people plus one wheelchair. We’re hoping to purchase something that is inclusive to our non-mobile residents and can hold more people too. Our residents enjoy their day trips out and we’d love to take them out a lot more.

“We’re thrilled with the amount of support we received from residents, staff and relatives, helping us to raise over £300.

"It was a great way to keep active, enjoy some fresh air and have some fun. Thank you to all those who donated.”

If you would like to make a donation, visit gofundme.com/f/foxholes-carehome-fundraiser

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