A team of fundraisers from Emmaus Leeds, including formerly homeless people supported by the charity, have completed a 29-mile walking challenge to raise funds for St Gemma’s Hospice.

On Sunday 22 July, companions – formerly homeless people who live and work at Emmaus Leeds – teamed up with volunteers, trustees, staff and friends of the charity for a 29 mile walk along the Leeds Liverpool Canal between Leeds and Skipton. So far, more than £1,000 has been raised by the walkers for St Gemma’s Hospice.

Becky Hole, Senior Fundraiser at St Gemma’s Hospice, said: “Thank you so much to the residents and colleagues at Emmaus Leeds for walking 29 miles for St Gemma’s Hospice on such a hot day and choosing to raise funds for St Gemma’s Hospice in memory of Steven. We are so grateful for your support in this way, your fundraising has helped continue to provide end of life care to the people of Leeds affected by a life-threatening illness, we really can’t thank you enough.”

In total, 11 people completed the full 29-mile walk including two staff members from Corecom Consulting, companions from Emmaus Leeds and two companions from the Emmaus Salford community. A further nine people walked half the distance or more.

Dave, one of the companions at Emmaus Leeds who completed the challenge, said: “I wanted to raise money for St Gemma’s Hospice and get myself fit after a heart operation earlier this year. The walk was both stimulating, well planned and certainly exhilarating! It was a little bit too warm but thoroughly enjoyable.”

St Gemma’s Hospice is a Leeds-based charity providing expert care and support for local people with life-limiting illnesses. The care offered is always provided free-of-charge and is open to patients of all beliefs, religions and cultures.

The Emmaus Leeds community completed Wall’s Walking Challenge last year, in memory of Steven Wall, an Emmaus Leeds companion who passed away in 2016 after receiving support from St Gemma’s Hospice. The concept of solidarity, helping others less fortunate than yourself, is a central ethos of Emmaus and a motivation for the companions completing this year’s challenge.

Donald Forrester, Chief Executive of Emmaus Leeds, said: “The Emmaus Leeds community, our friends and supporters have pulled together to complete a tough challenge and raise a good amount for St Gemma’s Hospice. I would like to pay tribute to everyone who organised, trained and took part in the walk along with all the generous people who have donated money to our appeal.”

Emmaus Leeds supports 26 formerly homeless people by providing them with a stable home and meaningful work for as long as they need it. The charity has its main community building and social enterprise on St Mary’s Street, and also runs a stall at Kirkgate Market.

To find out more about the work of Emmaus Leeds head to www.emmaus.org.uk/leeds. For more information, to donate an item or get involved as a volunteer call 0113 248 4288 or visit Emmaus Leeds at St Mary’s Street, Leeds, LS9 7DP.