Matt sets himself series of challenges  to help children’s hospice

A former soldier is planning to walk the equivalent of a marathon a day to and from his office for a week to raise money for the charity he works for. 

Matt Norman, operations lead at Children’s Hospice South West’s (CHSW) Charlton Farm, will pull on his sturdy shoes to walk the 26-mile round trip from his home in Kingswood to the children’s hospice at Wraxall each day for a week. 

The walk to work is one of a series of eight challenges Matt, 50, has set himself during the next several months to raise money for CHSW.  

Matt first learned about the work of CHSW when a friend’s daughter was cared for by the charity 13 years ago. 

Inspired by the work of the organisation, Matt did a charity bike ride in 2012 from his army base at Colchester, Essex to Bristol, raising £2,500. 

Matt, who left the army in 2018 before joining CHSW in May last year, said: “Thirteen years ago a friend of mine’s daughter was cared for by CHSW. 

“I was in the forces at the time, but hearing about how they supported her inspired me to do something to support the charity.” 

Matt is now in training to prepare for his challenges and is regularly walking with wife Emma as well as cycling and going to the gym. 

“I’m inspired everyday by the wonderful staff that make Charlton Farm such a special place for families of children and young people with life-limiting or life-threatening conditions,” said Matt. 

“The hospice allows them to absolutely make the most of what are often short but always precious lives.” 

Matt plans to set out at 5am during his walk to work week in September and has already mapped out his route. 

“It normally takes me 45 minutes in the car to get to Charlton Farm from Kingswood,” he said. 

“I expect walking it will take around 3 to 3 ½  hours, so I will be setting out around 5am and going at a pace to get to work between 8am and 8.30am. 

“Although I am a keen walker, I’ve never actually done a marathon – and this will be walking the equivalent of a marathon every day. It’s going to be a challenge, but one I’m ready for.” 

Matt is kicking off his challenges in April with a 50km Bridge 2 Bridge Walk from Clifton Suspension Bridge to Pultney Bridge in Bath via the River Avon before finishing at his home in Kingswood. 

He will also be taking part in the Bristol Half Marathon in May before joining a team from Ethical Power, which has adopted CHSW as its charity of the year, in The Three Peaks Challenge. 

Continuing his fundraising journey, Matt will then take part in CHSW’s Ride for Precious Lives and the Great Weston Ride in July.

In November he will be embarking on the 11/11 Remembrance Challenge to walk or run 11 miles a day between November 1 and 11 before joining a 12 hour Fit-a-thon at a local gym. 

Matt hopes to raise £5,000 from his challenges and has already raised more than £600 of his target. 

Matt says he will be taking advantage of the talents of Charlton Farm’s kitchen team to keep him sustained during his challenges. 

“There’s never any shortage of any cake at Charlton Farm,” he laughed, “and I have already booked some of the famous Charlton Farm flapjacks to help me power through.” 

Charlton Farm opened to families in 2007 and is currently supporting almost 200 children and young people from the local area living with life-limiting or life-threatening illnesses; meaning that it is unlikely they will live into adulthood. 

The hospice provides a range of support including day visits and overnight stays for the whole family at the hospice itself, home visits, 24-hour telephone support, emergency stays, symptom management, dedicated support for siblings, end of life care and bereavement support.   

Anyone who wants to support Matt in his challenges can visit his Just Giving page