Jacqui Hopkinson was badly injured in a motorbike crash on New Year’s Eve 2021, breaking both her arms and leaving her unfit and feeling old.
Whilst recovering, Jacqui decided she needed a new challenge to help her get back to full fitness and has decided to fundraise for The Bridge Trust Project, supporting young people in West Kent.
Jacqui’s partner Bart also suffered a knock to his fitness following a knee replacement but found that walking really helped to improve both his physical and mental health, so they’re taking on the 200-mile coast-to-coast walk together, from St Bees on the Cumbrian coast to Robin Hood’s Bay on the Heritage Coast of the North York Moors.
“I’ve always given money to charity when I can, and Bart has so much compassion for people that we decided to use our love of walking to raise money for a charity that really does help local people get back on their feet,” explained Jacqui, who is 63.
“With the cost of living crisis putting a real strain on people at the moment as well, I started thinking about things like even stopping for a coffee. Rather than spend that £3 on a fancy coffee, I put it into our fundraising pot. It can make a huge difference to someone else, and all I’ve given up is a coffee. If everyone reading this does the same we can make a real difference together.”
The Bridge Trust Project merged with YMCA Thames Gateway Group in 2022, in order to be able to support even more young people in the West Kent area. Despite being part of a larger charity, funds can still be earmarked specifically for work in certain localities so that local people feel more engaged with the organisation and its work.
“We decided to choose The Bridge Trust Project because we wanted to support local people where we could see change the money that we donate is making,” said Jacqui. “We have previously supported homeless charities by taking new clothes in to shelters at Christmas or by donating money. We feel strongly that helping people back from homelessness saves lives.
“The thought of people being on the streets this winter when, by sacrificing a coffee or a pint, you can make a huge difference is what we’re hoping will encourage people to support our fundraising efforts.”
Jacqui is a very philanthropic person, also acting as a volunteer blood runner for a charity that provides emergency courier services, transporting blood products, samples and other patient essential items for the major hospitals and hospices in Kent, outside normal working hours.
“I used to be scared of everything! Scared of heights, scared of going on a rollercoaster ride, scared of going out on my own – and I spent an awful lot of time tackling these issues. I managed to sort myself out, gave up work, rented out my house, packed a rucksack and off I went! I started off in Hong Kong and travelled across Mongolia on a train. I saw and experienced so much, and realised how lucky I am. Now I want to help others.”
If you would like to support Jacqui and Bart’s fundraising efforts, simply by giving up a coffee or pint, you can donate online here.
You can read more about Jacqui’s story and keep up to date with all of them at https://www.facebook.com/profile.php?id=100028843068690
Jacqui and Bart’s furry friends, Foxy and Cheeky, will also be joining them on their journey. We will be following their adventure closely and providing some colouring pages for little (and not so little) ones to enjoy: Download colouring book
You can download more information and colouring sheets here: