Ella's 250-mile charity challenge in support of best friend

Ella arrives in Sidmouth to enjoy the view towards Jacob's Ladder

Ella arrives in Sidmouth to enjoy the view towards Jacob's Ladder - Credit: Ella Robinson

Daily walks during lockdown have proved popular for many over the last year but for Ella Robinson they have been a way to support her best friend Charlie Gwillim, who is living with an incurable brain tumour.

March is Brain Tumour Awareness month and Ella, 27, from Newton Poppleford, who lives with her boyfriend Ben, set herself the challenge of walking 250 miles locally while raising money for the Brain Tumour Research charity.

Ella with her best friend Charlie

Ella with her best friend Charlie - Credit: Ella Robinson

Ella, who is a hairdresser and hopes to return to work in April, had hoped to raise £500 for the charity by the end of the month but has already smashed her target and the fund now stands at more than £800.

She said: “I originally set the target at £500, thinking how incredible it would be just to get to that. I have been overwhelmed by the donations and lovely messages as I know how underfunded brain tumour awareness and the Brain Tumour Research charity are and how much difference just £5 can make.”

Charlie, 29, lives in Sidmouth with her boyfriend Rob. She became friends with Ella in 2013 after being introduced through their partners, who are best friends.

Ella explained: “Charlie was diagnosed a little over two years ago and it was such a devastating time. At just 27 she was told she had a stage three terminal brain tumour. None of us could understand how someone so young could have to face something like this. But sadly, brain tumours are the biggest killer of children and adults under 40 years old. 

“Charlie has so much love and support around her, not only from her wonderful boyfriend Rob but by our lovely friendship group, which we all say is more like family. We all supported her in the July of her diagnosis and ran 10K in the Tipton fun run. We were all planning to do it again this year but unfortunately that got cancelled due to Covid. 

Ella takes in the views from the Jurassic coast

Ella takes in the views from along the Jurassic coast - Credit: Ella Robinson

“Charlie is such a positive person. I can never understand how someone who is facing something so scary can remain so strong and positive. As difficult as it is to walk up to eight miles a day, I have really enjoyed being able to do something to help as most of the time you do feel helpless.”

East Devon is blessed with many wonderful views and with the support of her family and friends, Ella has enjoyed a variety of walks from her doorstep.
“One of the best things about living in our village is that there are so many great walks in every direction,” Ella said. “During the lockdowns, my favourite route has been to head down the River Otter into Otterton, heading through the village towards Ladram Bay and then across to Peak Hill and Mutter's Moor, before heading down Four Elms Hill back home. This route has a bit of everything; riverside, coastline, woodland and some incredible views, not to mention a decent coffee stop at Otterton Mill.
“I never take living in East Devon for granted as we are spoilt for choice when it comes to beautiful walks.”

Ella and Charlie enjoy a sunset walk along Sidmouth before the pandemic

Ella and Charlie enjoy a sunset walk along Sidmouth before the pandemic - Credit: Ella Robinson

Charlie said: “I’m very proud of what Ella’s doing. She’s helping to raise awareness for a cancer where treatment hasn’t made much headway for many years. Brain cancer is the biggest killer of people under the age of 40 and it currently only receives about three per cent of the money donated for all the cancers.”

By Friday, March 27, Ella hopes to have walked 170 miles and will be looking forward to completing her 250-mile challenge on Wednesday, March 31. 
On this day she plans to walk the last leg along Sidmouth seafront, with Charlie joining her.
You can help Ella raise much-needed funds for Brain Tumour Research by going to her JustGiving page: https://www.justgiving.com/fundraising/ella-robinson93

Taking a breather at Peak Hill to enjoy the view across the Sidmouth coastline

Taking a breather at Peak Hill to enjoy the view across the Sidmouth coastline - Credit: Ella Robinson

Become a Supporter

This newspaper has been a central part of community life for many years. Our industry faces testing times, which is why we're asking for your support. Every contribution will help us continue to produce local journalism that makes a measurable difference to our community.

Become a Supporter