AROUND 50 friends joined an 18-mile virtual walk to celebrate the memory of Lizzie Murt who died aged 13 from cancer in 2015.
Organised by Lizzie’s mum Helen, the walking challenge has involved dozens of friends and family pledging to walk at least a mile a day for 18 days to finish on Friday – which would have been Lizzie’s 18th birthday.
Amid the coronavirus lockdown, some have taken the opportunity to incorporate the walk into their daily exercise, with others undertaking laps of their garden.
The challenge has raised more than £1,600 for Southampton Hospital Charity in recognition of the care Lizzie received from children’s cancer unit, the Piam Brown Ward.
Helen said: “Every year a large group of friends and family gather to walk the 18 miles from Sandbanks to Milford to remember Lizzie and celebrate her life.
“This year our original plan was to do the walk on what would have been Lizzie’s 18th birthday. But with the lockdown in place we realised a few weeks ago that it wasn’t going to be possible.”
Instead Helen asked friends to pledge to walk 18 miles in 18 days. A WhatsApp group of participants has seen walkers sharing daily snaps of sunsets, bluebells and the local coastline.
Helen said: “It has been so lovely to see the photos of everyone’s wonderful walks. Since we started the challenge spring has well and truly sprung – the trees are blossoming and the bluebells are in full flower just in time for Lizzie’s birthday.”
Remembered for her outgoing nature, sunny smile and unstoppable determination, Lizzie loved spending time with her family and friends, swimming in the sea and enjoying the coast.
She attended Priestlands School after Milford Primary School, where a special outdoor space called Lizzie’s Garden has since been opened.
Since her death, Lizzie’s school friends have taken part in a host of fundraising events including cross-Channel swims, climbing Mount Snowdon, cake sales and marathons.
Led by Helen, a team of family and friends formed a group called Lasting Love for Lizzie and have raised a total of around £40,000 for the Piam Brown Ward, helping to fund two new bed spaces complete with specialist beds, tables and recliner chairs.
To donate go to www.justgiving.com/fundraising/helen-murt4