WALK The Test Another Way is an alternative take on the year’s main fundraising event for the Rotary Club of Romsey Test.

The usual, fully marshalled and supported event had to be cancelled this year because of Covid-19, but a number of previous walkers wouldn’t let that put them off. A host of hikers have donned their walking boots for their own version of the event, mainly undertaking shorter walks close to their homes. Six ladies from Southampton, who call themselves Mandy’s Fit Bits, decided they still wanted to walk the full marathon distance down the Test Way.

On Sunday, they set off from St Mary Bourne and 26 miles and 8 hours later they were greeted in Romsey War Memorial Park by relatives and friends with smiles and cheers and a glass of Prosecco. They were also presented with Rotary Walk The Test Way medals.

Mandy’s Fit Bits have now raised nearly £2,000 for Salisbury Hospice and donations are still coming in. Tamsin Murley, Community Fundraiser at Salisbury Hospice, said “I am thrilled by the team’s efforts and the money raised in what is a very difficult time for all charities. We cannot thank Mandy’s Fit Bits enough for completing this challenge.”

Sandy Dunn, chairman of the Rotary Club’s Walk Committee, added: “This is a fabulous achievement by the only team to walk the full distance this year. We hope to welcome everyone back next year.”

Members of Mandy’s Fit Bits all said the walk was good fun, but they missed the friendliness of the marshals, the mileage markers along the route and the portaloos! Walk The Test Way is in its 17th year and has raised an incredible £950,000. The Rotary Club of Romsey Test event has supported a host of charities in the past, including Naomi House and Jacksplace, Parkinsons UK and Jane Scarth House.

Salisbury Hospice provides palliative care and support for 1,000 terminally ill patients each year. To donate, visit https://bit.ly/349js4p