THE mayor may not have been well enough to attend but that didn’t stop around 100 people walking through Hayling Island to raise money for his charities.
Councillor Ken Smith organised the walk to raise money for the Hampshire and Isle of Wight Ambulance and The Rowans Hospice’s Dorothy’s Dream appeal.
But sadly he was taken ill on Thursday and was sending good wishes to the walkers from his hospital bed.
Mayoress Hazel Smith said: ‘We are doing it on his behalf. He’s quite gutted really. He said that he’s here in spirit and he’s wishing everybody an enjoyable walk. At least it’s sunny and dry.’
The walk lasted for four miles, with the sound of bagpipes ringing out along the seafront.
It started and finished at the coastguard station on the beach at Hayling Island.
Walkers were given a bottle of water and a banana halfway through, to keep them going.
‘It’s friends, family and people that we have got to know,’ added Hazel.
‘Some people can’t walk very well so they are sponsoring other people to walk.’
And Hazel said the charities are very worthwhile.
‘They are very important,’ she added.
‘Both of them assist life. We are indebted to the Hampshire and Isle of Wight air ambulance because they contributed to saving the life of our younger son.
‘He had been in a car accident and tore his aorta. He had to have emergency surgery. He has completely recovered now.
‘And with The Rowans Hospice, you never know when you are going to lose someone. Dorothy’s Dream is going to provide a professional service at home. There’s no place like home. People with a terminal illness can fulfil their dream to spend their last days at home.’
Peter Burton is a support group volunteer for the Hayling Island group of The Rowans Hospice. He also took part in the walk.
‘It’s a good idea,’ he said.
‘It gets people out and gets them doing something physical. It’s a shame about Ken.
‘The hospital could have brought him out on his bed and could have pushed him.’
Sheila Stakim, 55, from Southwood Road on Hayling Island, added: ‘It’s very good. I haven’t been involved in anything like this before.’