HUNDREDS of walkers strode out to support St Richard’s Hospice on the charity’s popular annual Waterways Walk on Sunday ( August 17).

Around 130 walkers took on the 21 mile circular route from Droitwich Spa Marina, along the restored Droitwich Canal and River Severn to Diglis in Worcester and back beside the Worcester and Birmingham Canal.

And an equal number of walkers headed off on the shorter 11 mile route, finishing in Worcester.

The independent charity hopes walkers will raise in the region of £19,000 towards the care of patients living with cancer and other life-threatening illnesses, and supporting their families.

Among those walking the 11 mile route were Mo and Andy Usowicz from Bewdley, taking on the challenge in memory of their daughter Nikki who was cared for by St Richard’s in her final days.

Mrs Usowicz said, “St Richard's Hospice holds a special place in our hearts. Nikki, our daughter, had breast cancer that had spread to her liver and bones. But Nikki wasn't going to give up without a fight, she had two teenage daughters and a gorgeous granddaughter, and decided to cram as much as she could into her life.

"Nikki took part in three sponsored walks even though she was suffering from pain in her legs. She bought a Mini convertible; went to the British Grand Prix; up in a hot air balloon and saw Rihanna in concert amongst other things. She always made sure she spent as much time with her family as she could. This was very important to her. Nikki was an inspiration to all who knew her.”

Mrs Usowicz added, “She was looked after so well at the hospice, and passed away in September 2012 aged 40. We wanted to raise money for St Richard's in memory of Nikki and to enable the hospice to continue helping others with life-threatening illnesses. Everyone at the hospice does a wonderful job. I want to repay the hospice for everything they did for Nikki, and for everything they do for other patients and their families. They rely on donations and it was Nikki's wish that we raised money to help St Richard's Hospice.”

St Richard’s Hospice Senior Fundraiser Alison Parkes said, “It was a great day with all our walkers in good spirits despite the occasional rain shower. We really appreciate the efforts of everyone who took part and the money they raised will help St Richard’s make a difference to the quality of life of our patients and families.”

The Waterways Walk is now in its fifth year and is sponsored by Droitwich Spa Marina.