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he Sussex Landmarks Hike began life long ago under a different guise. Launched in 1991 as the Balcombe Walk, it was created as a fundraising event for St Catherine’s Hospice. The original idea came from a member of the Haywards Heath St Catherine’s Hospice Friends Group called Michael Blyth, whose vision was to create a free event the whole family could partake in, while fundraising for the hospice. Michael hand wrote everything in the early days because he did not have a computer. This extended to the invitations and envelopes for the 200 walkers at the first event. How many pens he went through in that first year was not recorded. To measure

100 SUSSEX LIVING | September 2019

This year’s Sussex Landmarks Hike will soon be upon us, so we sent our regular rambler, Robert Veitch on a mission to find out all about this important fundraiser

the distance the walkers would cover, Michael walked the route and counted his footsteps, multiplying the number of footsteps by the length of his stride. History showed his estimation to be quite accurate. Michael’s attention to detail meant the walk was always well organised and it remains so, to this day. It was planned by a walker, for other walkers, well signposted, with accurate cues,

so participants could enjoy the walk, rather than stopping to refer back to the map. Nonetheless, local artists created some sketch maps and these were given to the walkers. An army of volunteers baked homemade cakes to help fuel those fundraising footsteps. In the millennium year, Michael Blyth stood down and a new committee took control of the project. Some of the new committee were family members and friends of people St Catherine’s had cared for. Things were going full circle. Beneficiaries from previous years were becoming involved in fundraising for future years. The event was succinctly described as ‘good company, lovely countryside and cake!’ And so, it continued that way for many years, until 2018 when the

Profile for Sussex Living

Sussex Living September 2019  

Sussex Living September 2019