Marathon walk raises £13,200 for Saint Francis Hospice

 Saint Francis Hospice marathon walkers together in Raphael Park in Romford.

JJ's Allstars full, half and quarter marathon walkers met up in Raphael Park in Romford at 10.30am. - Credit: Julia Judd

A woman inspired friends and residents to walk up to 26.2 miles to raise money for their local Romford hospice.  

A group of 50 people joined the walk on May 22, which was initially organised to beat the Covid blues but turned into the organisers' “absolute dream” by raising £13,200 and counting for Saint Francis Hospice in Romford.  

The hospice provides free care and help to over 4,000 people struggling with life-limiting illnesses across the boroughs of Havering, Barking and Dagenham, Redbridge and Brentwood.  

Walking marathon organiser Julia Judd said that she was “stunned” that her initially small idea turned into a huge success.

Julia, her friends, family and the residents that joined the walk have become known as “JJ’s Allstars”.  

Julia Judd with the Saint Francis Fundraising Team.

Event organiser Julia Judd with the Saint Francis Hospice fundraising team. - Credit: Julia Judd

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Julia, who is a beaver scout leader, said: “It was a truly wonderful day, filled with laughter, friendship, a few tears, but mostly joy as everyone accomplished personal challenges and shared the day together. 

“To see so many people outdoors, sharing the joy of walking, talking and encouraging each other was a blessing.” 

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The full marathon walkers set off at 6.30am and met with the half marathon and quarter marathon walkers at 10.30am, where they all continued to the finish line despite the rain.

By 11.00am, the 44-acre Raphael Park in Romford was a “sea of orange” and generous passers-by donated in their fundraising tubs.  

A lady showing support for Saint Francis Hospice from her back garden.

Saint Francis Hospice supporter June Boult didn't join the marathon walk but showed her support from her garden. - Credit: June Boult

JJ’s Allstars made their way through the 215-acre stretch of Bedfords Park to the finishing line at The Royal Oak pub, where participants were greeted with medals by the Saint Francis fundraising team and food and drink provided by the pub. 

Recovering from the walk, Julia said her “aches and pains have subsided” and “people are still giving generously”.   

Julia said: “Saint Francis Hospice is our local charity, it is close to so many people’s hearts, for many different reasons, and the money is still coming in. 

“I have also had a number of people, including the hospice team, say they want to do it next year!”  

To continue supporting the event, visit 

A mother and son side by side wearing marathon medals.

Marathon walkers, Julie Leeper and her partner Alex, were the first to cross the finish line. - Credit: Julia Leeper

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