Walkies with dog from Mansfield to Skegness raises £3,255 for charity

You’ve heard of one man and his dog. Now meet one woman and her dog, who have raised more than £3,000 for a mental-health charity thanks to a sponsored walk from her home town of Mansfield Woodhouse to Skegness.

By Richard Silverwood
Friday, 24th September 2021, 6:30 am
Thumbs up from Kerry Witham and pet dog Newkie as they arrive in Skegness after their epic sponsored walk.
Thumbs up from Kerry Witham and pet dog Newkie as they arrive in Skegness after their epic sponsored walk.

Caring Kerry Witham, 42, and her three-year-old cocker spaniel, Newkie, covered 94 miles in four days, unaided, stopping only for overnight stays at pubs and bed-and-breakfasts.

They braved burning heat, torrential rain, overgrown footpaths and ploughed fields, while Kerry, carrying 15 kilos on her back, ended up with battered feet and blisters.

"But it was all worth it if we get people suffering from mental health the help they need,” she said after being greeted at Skegness.

Kerry, who is a receptionist at the Park Hall Veterinary Practice in Mansfield Woodhouse, tripled her initial fundraising target of £1,000 for Mental Health UK. Her JustGiving page shows that 109 supporters have helped her generate a whopping £3,255 from what she called her ‘Mindful March’.

"Thanks to everyone who sponsored me” she said. “You are all amazing.

"Special thanks too to Nicky Bagley, a vet at Park Hall, who mapped out my route, and to Sarah-Jane England, a client at the vet’s, who provided all my gear for the walk.

"I also want to thank Darren Moore, who used to live in Sutton but now has a caravan at Chapel St Leonard’s, which he let me stay in for free on my last night. Darren lost one of his friends to mental-health issues.”

Kerry sets off on her sponsored walk, cheered on by vet Nicky Bagley (foreground), who went with her on the first day.

The ‘Mindful March’ was very personal to Kerry too. She owns a 14-year-old horse, George, but suffered mental-health issues when her other horse, Newton, died in January. This followed the deaths of her grandad, Colin Dove, and her mum’s partner last year.

She is also surrounded by stress at work as the vet’s practice catches up with a huge workload after Covid.

Kerry added: “My much-loved grandad always wanted to do this walk until he succumbed to dementia, so I performed it in his memory.

"I have had injuries from falling off my horses, but the last ten miles gave me the worst pain ever.

A deserved rest for Kerry and Newkie during their long walk to Skegness.

"However, there is still a taboo around mental-health issues, and many people suffer in silence.

"So it was important to raise money, and awareness, for this important cause.”

An X-certificate photo of one of Kerry's battered feet after the arduous walk.