Muddy news hacks help raise �10,000 for St Francis Hospice

�On the coldest weekend of the year so far, two reporters were among those who braved freezing temperatures, icy water, mud – and a terrifying rope bridge – for a 7.5km charity obstacle course.

Recorder news editor Jane Ball and Barking and Dagenham Post reporter Sara Odeen-Isbister, joined the Mud ’n’ Madness race at Stubbers Adventure Centre, in Ockendon Road, Upminster, on Saturday, in aid of St Francis Hospice.

Together with around 50 other competitors, they helped raise a superb �10,000 for the charity, based in Havering-atte-Bower.

Jane, 28, said: “Wading through knee-high freezing, mud-filled water and crossing a lake on two pieces of rope was tough, but we had a lot of fun.”

The pair raised �320 so far with more cash to come.

The course involved a series of army style challenges over 1,500m, as well as a 800m kayak on the water, a 1,400m run, river crossing, and 2,400m dash through “mud alley”.

Also taking part was Gary Fox, from Romford, who entered in a team with his son Shaun, 17 and nephew Lewis Thwaites, from Harold Hill.

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They took part in memory of Gary’s wife Lisa, who received care from the charity before she sadly lost her two-year battle with cancer in October.

Gary said: “Lisa spent 10 days as an inpatient at the hospice and the staff and volunteers were amazing. I didn’t know what to expect when it was suggested Lisa go into the hospice, but the medical team made her comfortable and the family could visit when we wanted, which meant so much to us.”

Also at the event, which was organised by One Step Beyond, were sisters Sophie, Charlotte and Elise Crawley, from Romford.

Sophie said: “It was good fun, but really cold. The canoeing was a challenge as we kept going in circles.”


Other people who joined in were school friends from Coopers’ Company and Coborn School, in Upminster.

Frazer Keene, Harry Bullamore, Robert Govey and Gordon Boxall-Kee, from Romford, who took part in memory of his mum Jennifer, who received hospice care.

Gordon said: “It was exciting, but very cold and I found the barrel section of the assault course tiring.”

The next running challenge is the LV = Brentwood Half Marathon on March 25 and there are still hospice places left.

Entry is �22 and to sign up or find out more please call 01708 771427 or email

To find out about other ways to support the hospice visit: or call 01708 753319.

To sponsor Jane and Sara go to