Letters of love spur Stevenage mum on during Macmillan ‘mighty hike’ in memory of parents who died of cancer

Kerry Hammond and Peter Miller pictured with Trevor Broom (left) - whose own story is told on the fa

Kerry Hammond and Peter Miller pictured with Trevor Broom (left) - whose own story is told on the facing page. Picture: Karen Broom - Credit: Archant

A Stevenage mum on a marathon hike to remember her parents after they died prematurely from cancer came close to quitting, but made it to the finish line thanks to a friend who gave her a letter from a loved one every time she wanted to give up.

Kerry Hammond and her friend Peter Miller cross the finish line after 26 gruelling miles.

Kerry Hammond and her friend Peter Miller cross the finish line after 26 gruelling miles. - Credit: Archant

Kerry Hammond and her neighbour Peter Miller, who both live in Merrick Close in Great Ashby, took part in Macmillan Cancer Support’s Thames Path Mighty Hike on Saturday.

Kerry’s dad, Phil Lee, was diagnosed with terminal lung cancer in 2011 and given nine months to live. He died in March 2012.

Just nine months later, Kerry’s mum, Carol, died from leukaemia. They were both just 57 years old.

Kerry said Macmillan gave her and her family tremendous support at the end of her parents’ lives and following their deaths, and she decided it was time to give something back to the charity.

But Peter knew Kerry was going to struggle to complete the 26.7 miles from Windsor to Henley and, unknowingly to her, asked her sisters, her children and her best friend to write letters of encouragement to her, which he could give to Kerry when she was struggling to go on.

Kerry, 37, said: “Peter got me through it. I could have given up after 16 miles, but I got a second wind at 19 miles. At mile 24 I hit the wall, but Peter dragged me on.

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“It was so much harder than I thought it was going to be and I definitely couldn’t have done it on my own.”

Kerry and Peter took 10 hours to complete the hike, raising £3,150 for Macmillan.

Kerry said: “It’s a massive achievement and I’m really glad I did it, but I don’t think I would do it again!”

She added: “After losing both my mum and dad to this awful disease I wanted to give something back to Macmillan as a thank you for all the support they gave to mum and dad during their illnesses.”

You can still support Kerry and Peter’s efforts by making a donation at www.justgiving.com/fundraising/teamkerryandpete.