Mother’s loss inspires community to support 15-mile charity walk

COLOURFUL The sponsored fancy dress walk from Gosport to The Hard in Portsmouth to raise money for Sands.     Picture: Paul Jacobs (111105-1)
COLOURFUL The sponsored fancy dress walk from Gosport to The Hard in Portsmouth to raise money for Sands. Picture: Paul Jacobs (111105-1)
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DRIVERS cheered and beeped to show support for a colourful parade containing Smurfs, elves and even Spongebob Squarepants.

Dozens of marchers put on fancy dress and face paint to make the 15-mile journey from Gosport to Southsea in the hope of raising hundreds of pounds for charity.

WAVING Walkers and their dogs.    (111105-4)

WAVING Walkers and their dogs. (111105-4)

And though walkers of all ages were hot and tired, their dedication to help mum-of-two Sharon Baines kept them going.

The 29-year-old, of Merganser Close, Gosport, organised the sponsored walk in memory of her stillborn son Tyreese, who would have turned 10 this year.

So calling on the help of family and friends, Sharon mobilised more than 30 people to take on the challenge for Sands – the UK’s stillbirth and neonatal death charity.

Sharon completed the walk dressed as a blue Smurf alongside her two sons, 12-year-old Jay and six-year old Kian.

She said: ‘The furthest I have walked before was around Asda, so I thought this would be a decent challenge.

‘And since I’m turning 30 this year, it made sense to do something to mark that anniversary and remember Tyreese at the same time.

‘There were other people walking because they had lost children, but a lot of them just came out to dress up, have a laugh and raise some money.

‘I’m really grateful to everyone who took part; no-one grumbled and we had a great time.’

Sharon added that she wanted to thank the Gosport Ferry and Coyote Cakes, in Gosport, who both supported the walk.

The group walked through Fareham, Portchester and then finished down in Southsea, before returning to Gunwharf Quays to get a ferry back to Gosport.

Also walking was Lisa Hunt, 43, of Swanton Close, in Stubbington, with her cousin Megan Ray and dog Murphy.

‘I lost a baby a few years ago,’ said Lisa. ‘And I think most people know someone who has.

‘So we were only too happy to come out and support Sharon – it was a great atmosphere. If I had a pound for every person who honked their horn at us we would have made hundreds of pounds.’

Megan, 20, of Jervis Road, Portsmouth, added: ‘Everyone really enjoyed themselves, and the weather was perfect.’

The youngest walker was Sharon’s six-year-old son, Kian Baines, who said the trek hadn’t tired him out at all.

‘Walking lots makes you healthy,’ he said. ‘So I’m happy because I think we’ve walked about 80 miles today, or that’s what it feels like.’

The group carried buckets on their walk and have so far raised more than £1,300.

To donate go to justgiving.com/sharon-baines.