Reid family follow in the footsteps of Sir Captain Tom
- Credit: Kyle Baker Photography
Sidford residents Angie and Steve Reid and their 21-year-old daughter Charlotte, have completed walking 100 sponsored lengths of Sidmouth Esplanade in honour of Sir Captain Tom’s 100 Challenge.
The family decided to take up the 100 challenge to raise funds for Brain Tumour Research, a charity which is important to them following Charlotte’s diagnosis of a benign brain tumour nearly six years ago.
Between April 29 and May 3, team Reid walked 20 lengths of the seafront each day (nearly eight miles per day), with Charlotte mainly in her wheelchair but with opportunities for her to walk with her walker, enduring all forms of weather from rain, sun, hail and strong winds.
Angie said: “Last year, along with so many others, we were inspired by Sir Captain Tom and the challenge he set himself to walk 100 lengths of his front garden. During those dark and anxious times, it was clear how he lifted people’s spirits and the sum of money he raised was awe inspiring.
“As we all went into lockdown, the fundraising event we had been organising for Brain Tumour Research (Wear A Hat Day) had to stop and we were so disappointed, especially as we were also aware of how the money was drying up for charities. I remember thinking every charity needs a Captain Tom.
“We were delighted when Sir Captain Tom’s family released their idea of the 100 challenge at the beginning of April, so I did a little research about what we could do. After reading about Sir Captain Tom we became aware of how much he liked the seaside and that is how we became inspired to follow, literally, in his footsteps. We decided we would walk 100 lengths as well, but not in our front garden but our local seafront in Sidmouth.”
Residents and well-wishers joined in for some of the walks with many dressing up to help raise awareness of their cause. The family were also joined by doctors from Bramble ward at the Royal Devon and Exeter Hospital and a family who had been in America for proton treatment at the same time as Charlotte.
As well as turning heads on the seafront, the Reid family made headlines in the news with interviews from Radio5live and Radio Devon and BBC Spotlight who filmed part of the walk which was shown on TV during lunchtime and evening news.
Melanie Tiley, community development manager for Brain Tumour Research said: “We are so grateful to Charlotte’s Army for their incredible Captain Tom 100 Challenge along Sidmouth Esplanade. Although the four-day challenge started out in glorious weather, it was quite a different story, particularly on Bank Holiday Monday, but they carried on regardless.
“Charlotte’s family have been truly dedicated fundraisers and supporters of Brain Tumour Research since Charlotte was diagnosed with a brain tumour, resulting in life-changing consequences. Along with Charlotte’s Army of friends and supporters, the family have raised more than £32,500 to date, by taking part in a variety of different fundraisers, including Sidmouth Wear A Hat Week back in March.
“The town and local businesses have been so supportive of the charity. Belated congratulations to Bennett & Rogers for winning Wear A Hat Day 2020’s best window display. I finally got to deliver the champers 13 months later, held up by the pandemic!”
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Thanking organisers and supporters, Angie said: “We had a massive amount of support from a special team of people including Sidmouth Running Club, Sidmouth Steppers and the Skate Squad.
“Special thanks goes to Alexa Baker, Jenny Kay and Liz Clode for looking after the money, setting up posters and rallying the troops. The challenge would not have happened so smoothly without them.
“There were many others involved throughout as well, such as: Chris Hardy our saxophone player, Martin Pratt on the melodeon, Sidmouth Print for the fabulous posters, Janet Dowling who sat by the poster ready to talk and explain the challenge to those that asked questions and crossing off the lengths on our target board as we walked past. Kyle Baker for taking such fabulous photographs of the whole event, Charlotte Gwillim and Sarah French from Wear A Hat committee, Lynn Hoare for lending Charlotte her DryRobe, our parents, friends and family who came and spurred us all on and of course all the kind people that helped fill our buckets and donated so generously.”
“I would do this challenge again in a heartbeat”, said Angie. “It has been a privilege to meet so many people during my training sessions and throughout the challenge. I have had time to reflect and appreciate our surroundings after such a challenging year and learnt much about myself. All this while raising awareness and a fabulous amount of money for our charity. This would not have happened if it hadn’t been for Sir Captain Tom.”
Charlotte walked the end of the 100th length and was met by Charlotte Norton who, on behalf of her sister Laura Mead of Angelchops Cakes, presented Charlotte with some chocolate cupcakes as she crossed the finish line.
The family smashed their target to raise £1,000 (£10 per length) for Brain Tumour Research. Money donated from street collections and their online JustGiving page have topped £4,000 with more donations coming in.
If you would like to support the Reid family go to: www.justgiving.com/fundraising/charlottes-army-captain-tom-100-challenge