A couple have celebrated 50 years of marriage with a 50-mile European trek that has raised thousands of pounds for one of the region’s best loved charities.
Active Alf and Eileen Grummett - who are 75 and 74 and live in Gosforth, Newcastle - trekked for five days from Viterbo to Orvieto, in central Italy, raising £3,000 for the children and young adults service at St Oswald’s Hospice.
Eileen said: “We have decided to support St Oswald’s as it’s local to us and we’ve known people who have received care from the hospice. We recently had a tour of the hospice and were so impressed with the facilities. We just wanted to support a local cause and it’s also a great way to celebrate our anniversary.
“We’ve been to Italy a few times before and we were really looking forward to visiting again and having time to relax. All along the way we enjoyed beautiful scenery and visited ancient cities, most on the top of hills – hence a lot of climbing! We enjoy walking and taking in the views and it was something Alf had always wanted to do.
“We received encouragement on the way by people we had never met before and we even got a donation for St Oswald’s from a couple from Oklahoma in the United States, who we met in Cortona.
“Having only taken part in small events for charity in the past, this was the biggest challenge yet for Alf and me. We both felt a great sense of achievement at the end.”
The couple, who married in 1964, were sponsored by friends and family as they trekked for 10 miles a day across Italy.
Alf, who worked at Barclays Bank before his retirement, also received a £750 donation through the company’s match fund scheme.
Katy Taberham, Fundraiser at St Oswald’s said: “We were thrilled to hear that Alf and Eileen wanted to support the Hospice with the Italy walking tour – what a fantastic way to celebrate their 50th wedding anniversary.
“This is one of the more unusual ways someone has decided to fundraise for us and it’s a wonderful idea to mark a milestone event. The money they’ve raised will help care for North East children and young people, and their families.”
St Oswald’s Hospice provides specialist care for people in the North East. Annual running costs exceed £10m, of which more than £6.5m must be raised through voluntary giving.