Friends complete coast path challenge in memory of local mum

1:08pm Thursday 19th June 2014

A 186-MILE coastal path challenge has raised more than £7,000 in memory of a young mother from Milford Haven.

Setting off from St Dogmaels on May 18, 54-year-old Alison James, from Steynton, and her friend Lyn Hambridge, from Sardis, walked the entire length of the coast path to raise money in memory of Alison’s late sister Helen.

Diagnosed with Multiple Sclerosis (MS) in 1997, Helen’s health deteriorated rapidly and died in 2001 - aged just 36 - leaving two young children.

As well as a way to raise money for the Multiple Sclerosis Society, the walk was also a chance for Alison to pay a private tribute to the memory of her late sister.

“It wasn't just a physical challenge but a personal and mental one too,” said Alison.

“There was lots of time for reflection. Everything in life gets diluted by other things, but this was a chance to think clearly and have that luxury of thinking about life and family and what makes us happy.”

Despite a year of training, the tough terrain of north Pembrokeshire proved difficult, and a fall onto some rocks meant Alison was in pain for several days.

“Even with all that, not once did we think we couldn’t do it,” said Alison, adding that - despite lingering aches and pains - the experience was ‘one of the happiest times’ of her life.

The pair crossed the finish line in Amroth on June 2, and were greeted by friends and family holding banners and balloons, before enjoying a well-earned glass of champagne each.

“This wasn't just a journey for Lyn and me but for everyone who has supported us in the past year,” said Alison.

She thanked everyone who had donated, and friends Jan Sullivan and Kathy Jenkins - who raised £1,000 by doing a day-long sponsored walk.

The total raised currently stands at £7,342 – a fantastic tribute to an “incredible” sister, mother and daughter.

“She was a beautiful young lady. We would laugh a lot together – she was my best friend,” said Alison, adding that she hoped the experience would serve as a lasting legacy to Helen.

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