Local Hospice Dorothy House launched its ‘One Man and His Dog’ epic walking challenge with a celebration event on Milsom Street on Wednesday 17 October. The Rainbow Steel Band entertained passers-by as Dorothy House staff and supporters mingled with the public alongside a team from Macmillan Cancer Support. Speeches were given by Dorothy House chief executive, John Davies and Karen Walker, Chair of Bath and North East Somerset Council.

John Davies and his springer spaniel Myrtle embarked on their 180-mile walk, visiting all 28 Dorothy House shops and 20 towns. Over 17 days the walking challenge will span the hospice’s 700sq mile region across Bath and North East Somerset, Somerset and Wiltshire returning to Bath on Friday 2 November.

Everyone is invited to get involved by donating funds via the ‘One Man and His Dog’ fundraising page on www.localgiving.org, joining John and Myrtle on a short leg of the walk, attending talks or social events or welcoming him on arrival in your local town at a Dorothy House shop.

The walking tour will visit around twenty local towns in the region starting off in Bath and Keynsham before travelling to Radstock and Midsomer Norton, Shepton Mallet, Frome, Warminster, Westbury, Trowbridge, Melksham, Devizes, Chippenham, Malmesbury, Corsham and Bradford on Avon among other places. Highlights of John and Myrtle’s daily adventures will be shared on Dorothy House social media channels so people can find out where to meet John in their local area.

The walking tour launches the hospice’s bold ‘Everyday, Everyone’ plan for 2018-2025 aimed at meeting rising palliative and end-of-life care needs set to increase by a third by 2025 across Bath and North East Somerset, Wiltshire and Somerset. John Davies and the Dorothy House team will be out an about sharing the hospice’s vision for the future, meeting with local people, businesses, charities and community groups and raising vital funds for patient care.

The ‘Everyday, Everyone’ plan is the outcome of a two-year review and analysis into local care needs. The plan outlines how Dorothy House will develop its care and support services in the next seven years while meeting the challenges of an ageing population and a widening patient base as the hospice supports more people with non-cancer diagnoses. Currently 21% of people cared for by the hospice are non-cancer patients which will rise to an expected 56% in 2025.

John Davies, Chief Executive at Dorothy House said of the tour: “Please join me on this walking tour as we seek to meet and inspire the community to support this much-treasured hospice and work alongside us to ensure that outstanding end of life care becomes part of the everyday and accessible to everyone. I look forward to walking the Dorothy House ‘patch’ and meeting with the public, local businesses, charities and community groups on my travels to share our exciting vision for the future of end of life care.’”

Phill Duffy from Keynsham, husband of Pip Duffy a recent Dorothy House patient who died of cancer aged 36 said: “For our family talking to Dorothy House was important. They knew my wife, Pip, as a person not just as a clinical challenge. They gave her guided support and reassurance and enabled her to achieve her goals and live the fullest life possible. Having been with Pip at the hospice, I’m now far more scared about a life not lived than about death.”

Dorothy House provides free, palliative and end of life care to people with a life-limiting illness, their families and carers and offers support, advice and care from early diagnosis onwards. Referrals can be made by their GP or other Health and Social Care professional.

Visit: dorothyhouse.org.uk