Stubbington headteacher walks 22 miles to school for mental health challenge - and after nine hours gets there just as children are leaving

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A HEADTEACHER walked 22 miles from her home to school to raise money for children with mental health concerns.

Katie Hoebee, 40, braved the inclement weather to set off from her home in North Mundham at 6.05am to arrive at Crofton Anne Dale Junior School at 2.45pm. Katie was raising money to support children at the school who suffer from mental health conditions. 

Head teacher, Katie Hoebee, 40, is cheered by pupils after completing her 22-mile walk.'Picture: Sarah Standing (251019-8969)

Head teacher, Katie Hoebee, 40, is cheered by pupils after completing her 22-mile walk.'Picture: Sarah Standing (251019-8969)

As Katie arrived at the school gates she was given a rapturous reception by pupils.

Fraser Livingstone, 11, said: ‘I think it’s a brilliant thing what Mrs Hoebee is doing. It’s really generous of her to take on this challenge for a fantastic cause. It’s really important that people look after their mental health so they can be happy.’

Elsie Smith, seven, added: ‘I’m really proud of Mrs Hoebee and I gave her a big cheer when she arrived at school. If I had done the walk then I would be really tired by now.’

Katie decided to take on the challenge to raise money to help build a new sensory room and to help cover the costs of mental health first aid training.

Head teacher, Katie Hoebee, with (left to right), Phoebe Adams, Fraser Livingstone, Raffaele Celani-Smith and Elsie Smith.'Picture: Sarah Standing

Head teacher, Katie Hoebee, with (left to right), Phoebe Adams, Fraser Livingstone, Raffaele Celani-Smith and Elsie Smith.'Picture: Sarah Standing

‘Mental health issues in children, such as anxiety, are becoming a bigger problem in schools which is why we have paid for 16 members of staff to become mental health first aid trained. Due to cuts taking place in other areas of public services schools are having to pick up interventions with students who may be struggling with mental health,’ she said.

In addition to raising £500, Katie also wanted to raise the profile of mental health.

‘While the situation is improving, it’s still not something we talk enough about,’ she added.

Katie decided to take on the walking challenge as part of Walktober – a Hampshire initiative to improve people’s health through walking.

She said: ‘Children and staff often say they wished they lived close enough to walk to school. While I live a long way from the school I thought I would set one day aside to do it and hopefully encourage more people to follow suit.’

Year 3 pupil, Ronnie Richards, 8, said: ‘I like to walk to school but I would have needed a week to walk as far as Mrs Hoebee.’