Keech crew braves the elements to raise cash for Herts children’s hospice cause

Keech Hospice Care sailing challenge

Keech Hospice Care sailing challenge - Credit: Archant

A crew of would-be mariners on a mission took to the high seas to raise more than £8,000 for a hospice which cares for children across Hertfordshire.

Keech Hospice Care sailing challenge

Keech Hospice Care sailing challenge - Credit: Archant

The nine inexperienced sailors – including the charity’s chief executive Mike Keel, nursing and fundraising staff – took on the three-day challenge which included a gruelling 12-hour race around the Isle of Wight in support of Keech Hospice Care.

Regional fundraiser Emma Taylor, who was one of those aboard, said: “I loved every minute of it, even the hair-raising ones.

“There were boats colliding, emergency flares going off and at one stage our boat broached and we almost went in. My heart was in my mouth.

“Despite some members of the team not having the greatest sea legs, and being up against the best sailors in the business, we’re so proud of Team Keech.

“As a charity, 70 per cent of our running costs have to come from fundraising – that’s a huge amount.

“Working at Keech, I know first hand just how much of a difference this money will help and support children with life-limiting conditions and their families in Hertfordshire.”

Most Read

The charity has also received a big boost from BBC Children In Need, which has granted the good cause nearly £85,000 to help fund a new family support worker and the hospice’s bereavement pathway service.

It’s the first time that Keech, based on the outskirts of Luton but providing specialist care for children in Herts, has been backed by the annual telethon.

Dad Gary Conium, whose family knows all about the benefits of the service, has welcomed the funding.

His son Kieran died when he was 10. “From an early stage Keech’s bereavement pathway service therapists helped our two younger sons to prepare for what lay ahead,” he said.

“Without services like this, life would be extremely difficult for families who have already suffered the cruellest of fates.”