Trustee’s challenge for the community

Sarah Welsh during her epic challenge
Sarah Welsh during her epic challenge
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A Poulton women who gave up her birthday to spend it walking on a treadmill in the rain to raise funds for her local church hall smashed her fund-raising target.

Sarah Welsh, a trustee with the Vicarage Park Community Centre (VPCC), originally hoped to raise £2,000 by taking on a 19 hour and 25 minute walk underneath a gazebo in Poulton’s Market Place square.

It was hard slog, particularly through the night because of the wind and rain

The length of the walk - chosen to mark the date St Chad’s Church Hall originally opened in 1925 - left Sarah battling the elements over a distance of 47 miles.

Sarah, 53, of Lockwood Avenue, Poulton was joined and cheered on by friends and passers-by who wished her happy birthday, too.

She said: “It was hard slog, particularly through the night because of the wind and rain.

“With the dawn my spirits lifted and with the help of many supporters who came along to cheer me on I sailed through the remaining hours.”

Sarah’s efforts managed to raise £5,000 which will be used to boost the much needed funds to repair the hall.

VPCC, formed in January 2014 , recently signed a 35 year lease on the former St Chad’s Church Hall on Vicarage Road.

The group, which became a registered charity last year, hopes to raise the cash to repair the hall and bring it back into use after it closed in 2013.

Des Smith, landlord at the Old Town Hall won the competition to guess the distance walked to the closest metre.

He returned his £50 prize money and added £70 collected from pub regulars to the fund.