We are Lavinia and Steve Burch. In May of 2008, we set out on a highly daunting 429km (268 miles) hike along the Pennine Way, the oldest and second longest national trail in Great Britain, to raise money for the charity - The Ectopic Pregnancy Trust (www.ectopic.org.uk/fundraising/?p=46), starting on Sunday 27 April 2008, after Lavinia very sadly nearly lost her life to an ectopic pregnancy in July 2007. The Ectopic Pregnancy Trust was established in 1998, in memory of Sophie Winter, who sadly lost her life due to a misdiagnosis of her ectopic pregnancy. The charity seeks to raise awareness of ectopic pregnancy amongst women of childbearing age, the medical profession and the general public. The charity is striving to prevent unnecessary deaths due to ectopic pregnancy, provide emotional support and information for women and their families, and to support research into the underlying causes, treatment and prevention of the condition. Ectopic pregnancy affects one in 80 pregnancies in the UK and is a life-threatening condition, with at least 32,000 hospital admissions a year and very sadly women are still losing their lives to the condition.
TOTAL SPONSORSHIP RAISED TO DATE FOR THE ECTOPIC PREGNANCY TRUST - £11,409.00 (as at 22 September 2008) Made up of: e-fundraising account - £3,846.00, cheques/cash - £7,217.00 and we raised £346.00 from the sale of raffle tickets and the Trust's 10th birthday pin badges at our celebration party on Friday 30 May. KPMG, Steve's employer have very kindly donated an amazing £5,250.00 towards our fundraising effort, for which we are enormously grateful. Thank you so much for all of your support and kind donations. It means so much to us both. With some of the money we raised the Ectopic Pregnancy Trust will be holding a special training day on the Management of Early Pregnancy for doctors, nurses and radiologists in London in April 2009. We are extremely pleased that the money raised is being used in such a fantastic way, to help raise awareness amongst the medical profession of this life-threatening condition and help to save lives.
The Ectopic Pregnancy Trust needs to raise a minimum of £92,000 every year, to provide the excellent service and support that they do for women and their families in the UK. They are a well deserving charity that receives no Government funding. The majority of their funding comes from personal donations and fundraising activities - like ours. £100 pays for a days' IT support to maintain their website information and forum pages, £20 enables them to run their dedicated helpline for an hour and £5 allows them to send out 7 leaflets for free for women and their families who request them. So all of your generous donations really does help to support this niche charity.
Our Fundraising Hike: We commenced our hike in Edale, Peak District, Derbyshire, on 27 April and finished 21 days later, rather stiff-legged, in Kirk Yetholm, Scotland. It was an amazing experience to hike from England into Scotland, seeing the ever changing landscapes, which were surprisingly often so beautiful and breathtaking. We did endure lots of boggy sections and wet socks and boots, but the journey was a memory that will be us with for the rest of our lives. At the end of the 429km hiking trail, the Border Hotel in Scotland, provided us with a complimentary pint - which was very refreshing and rewarding! Hiking is one of our passions, so we were very excited and felt honoured to be able to do something we love to help raise money for the Ectopic Pregnancy Trust, after Lavinia suffered a life-threatening ectopic pregnancy in June 2007 and nearly lost her life. Due to complications following the ectopic pregnancy Lavinia has undergone four operations in a very short space of time between June 2007 and January 2008 - two of them involving major surgery; but with her endless spirit and drive she was determined to recover and be ready to hike the Pennine Way. Our motto for the fundraising hike was 'Remembering the past, looking to the future...'
Both of us are very lucky to have travelled extensively across the world and hiked some of the world's finest and most famous treks. Some of our most memorable previous hikes are:-
- The Lycian Way, the Taurus Mountains, Turkey - The Great Wall of China - The West Highland Way, Scotland
- The Inca Trail, Peru - Coast to Coast, Lake District, England - Torres del Paine 'W Trek', Chile
- Queen Charlotte Track, New Zealand - Ben Nevis, Scotland - Longji Mountains, Southern China
- Indian Himalayas, Mcleod Ganj, Northern India - Tongariro Crossing, New Zealand - Routeburn Track, New Zealand
- The Milford Track, New Zealand - The Lairig Ghru, Cairngorms, Scotland - Helvellyn, Lake District, England
However, the Pennine Way was our most challenging and longest hike to date, the highest point of the trail was a heady 2,930 feet. The Pennine Way is renowned as being one of the toughest and most demanding long distance trails in Britain. We trained by working out in the gym and hiking in the hills around Kent and Surrey, but also hiked in the stunning mountains of the Lake District (one of our favourite hiking destinations) and the Isle of Skye, in Scotland, to increase our hiking stamina. We were overjoyed that friends joined us at Malham Tarn to hike up to Pen-y-Ghent and onto our next's night's stay. Steve's brother Malcolm joined us at Hadrian's Wall on day 17, to hike the final 101km (63 miles) with us - it was so great to have their support!
If you would like to see some of our diary entries, photos and videos as we hiked along the Pennine Way and the celebration party which we held to say thank you to our family and friends for their support, please keep scrolling down to see our entries below. At our party, we were incredibly lucky and honoured to be joined by the very funny comedian Rob Brydon, Uncle Bryn from Gavin and Stacey. Rob Brydon did a fantastic job of entertaining our guests and hosting the evening's raffle and we are very grateful that he gave his support to the charity.
If you would like to support the Ectopic Pregnancy Trust and the hard work that they do in helping to save lives, you can donate to the charity and read more about their work by going to www.ectopic.org.uk Many thanks for your support and to the Ectopic Pregnancy Trust, we will always treasure the immense and unending care you have given us, Lavinia and Steve.
Please continue scrolling down to see our blog entries below - our first entry was on 30 December 2007 and the last is May 2008.
May 30th 2008
Saturday 30 May - After successfully completing the Pennine Way to raise money for the Ectopic Pregnancy Trust and receiving such amazing support from our family and friends over the last year, we decided to celebrate and show our thanks by hosting a party at Beauberry House in Dulwich, London. We were extremely lucky to be joined by about 110 guests, which included family, friends, a representative from the Ectopic Pregnancy Trust, Helen Wilkinson, their Marketing and Services Director who very kindly offered to speak on behalf of the charity and none other than Gavin and Stacey's 'Uncle Bryn' - Rob Brydon! Rob was incredibly funny and kept us all very amused. He did a remarkable job and we were very grateful to him for hosting the evening for us. Our friend Claire must have had ... read more
May 20th 2008
We are very grateful to everyone at the Ectopic Pregnancy Trust who work so hard to provide women and their families with support following this life threatening and most devastating condition - without their ongoing help we would have found it much harder to cope. We lost our precious baby, Lavinia nearly lost her life, she has been left infertile and she has now endured five traumatic operations since June 2007, but despite all of this we are so pleased that we have been able to try and stand tall, be positive, and accomplish the huge feat of hiking 429km from England into Scotland to raise money for the Ectopic Pregnancy Trust. We have lost so much - but it is a time for us to remember the past, but also look to the future with ... read more
May 16th 2008
Friday 16 May - After a relaxed morning, we left Byrness at 11am to start our big trudge uphill through a conifer plantation and then had a short scramble up a rock ledge. Even though the day was a lot cooler than the previous day, it did feel like we had done a Jane Fonda workout by the time we reached the top of Byrness Hill. Up on the open ridge were views of the magnificent Kielder Forest and Catcleugh Reservoir sparkling in the distance. As the Pennine Way continues, it crosses some of the least-populated parts of England. As we continued on, it was disconcerting to hear gunfire and blasts - the Pennine Way passes through Ministry of Defence property and there are signs everywhere warning walkers not to trespass. One of the signs says: ... read more
May 13th 2008
Tuesday 13 May - Waking up today, we were filled with excitement at the prospect of seeing the famous and historic Hadrian's Wall - especially because it was another glorious day. Following breakfast, Malcolm's 'first' English breakfast, which we were sure would be one of many along the Pennine Way, we left Greenhead. The area is full of history and the first interesting site we approached on our walk was Thirwall Castle. The castle was built in the early 14th century as an impressive family stronghold and splendidly surmounts a green hill overlooking the tree-lined Tipait Burn. The setting of the castle was simply charming. Fascinatingly the thick walls are built from recycled Roman stone. Our fascination and excitement quickened as we glimpsed our first sighting of the magnificent Hadrian's Wall - which was the most ... read more
May 12th 2008
Monday 12 May - After a much valued day of rest, we were feeling recharged and ready to set off again into the hills, valleys and mountains - hiking ever closer towards bonnie Scotland. The landlady at the Victorian Inn very kindly washed our laundry the day before (and did not charge us as a donation towards the Ectopic Pregnancy Trust) - which was needed as we had seven days worth of washing since our last washing day in Malham. So not only were we bouncy and refreshed, so were our clothes. We left Alston the highest market town in England and very quickly again were amongst beautiful green lush pastures, which were filled with lovely yellow gorse, that smelled so fragrant in the warm May air. It was another balmy day, and as we were ... read more
May 11th 2008
Sunday 11 May - Feeling a bit weary and tired from the boom, boom, boom of the party taking place in the hotel last night before, we still awoke in good spirits. Especially because we knew that after seven days of solid hiking, we had a day to relax before undertaking the final 89 miles to Scotland. After breakfast, we promptly headed to the tourist information centre in Alston, as we had heard that they had access to the internet - hooray!! We decided to type up as many of our diary entries as possible and add the photos and videos at later date. We have been typing from 10.30am this morning through to 15.30 this afternoon, and so we are now going to head off and get something tasty to eat. We are still a ... read more