THE Beaminster Friends Group has raised an incredible £18,000 for Weldmar Hospicecare after taking on fitness challenges.

The Beaminster Friends Group, a team of Weldmar supportes who raise money for the charity every year, decided to take on crazy challenges to do some fundraising after a number of their charitable events were cancelled because of the coronavirus pandemic.

Clare Handford, a member of the group, kicked off the challenges by running a marathon over a number of days as a way of raising money. Soon lots of other members wanted to get involved. Clare, 54, said: "At the beginning of lockdown we were having a Zoom meeting and I said that I was running the marathon and others wanted to do a challenge to support Weldmar themselves. Then someone came up with the suggestion that everyone could walk, run or cycle their age. What a crackers idea!

"One of the ladies in the group, Ros Senior, walked over 70 miles and 68-year-old Sue Dean cycled 68 miles in one day - madness! When the lockdown rules eased, six of us walked upgol three peaks of West Dorset, starting at Golden Cap then Colmers Hill followed by Lewesdon Hill."

Collectively, the group has managed to raise over £18,000 for Weldmar which is the amount it costs the charity each day to fund the free of charge services it offers. When they began, the group were aiming to hit £3,000 and they have massively surpassed their expectations.

Clare said: "Everyone has been so supportive. People really want to contribute to this amazing cause and the generosity of people donating has been incredible. Cancer affects all of us and because Weldmar is a local charity everybody knows or knows of someone who has benefitted from their service at some point.

"The charity does such an amazing job and we really don't want it to shut down so we have done our best to raise some money to help. We hope we will be back doing our regular charitable events soon so we can get our fundraising back on track."

You can still donate to the Beaminster Friends Group justgiving page at