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‘Walk for Joe’ parents cross the finish line

Robin Spalding and Lou Hart reach Land’s End

ACOUPLE from Frome have completed their 100-mile walk from Looe to Land’s End, raising money for Tommy’s in memory of their son, Joe, who died in April, only three and half weeks old.

Robin Spalding and Lou Hart reached their final destination of Land’s End on Wednesday 21st June, after covering 100 miles in 12 days from their starting point of Looe.

The couple walked in memory of their son Joe who was born premature on the 18th March but died three and a half weeks later on the 12th April.

Still grieving for the loss of their son, the walk along the South West Coast path has given the parents some time to reflect and heal. “We’re feeling proud of our achievement,” said Rob.

“It was a cathartic and important thing to do as part of the grieving process, which we’ll be working through for some time.

“The beautiful wild scenery, good weather, and time to allow our minds to process things has helped.

“When you feel wounded, walking in nature is so good for you. You may not be conscious of it at the time, but your brain gathers all the wonderful scenery and its beauty flows along your wiring, leaving you feeling clearer-headed, calmer, wiser, happier and able to process your thoughts more effectively.

“Our lives are usually so busy, but walking for a good period of time delivers space into your existence.

“Walking heals you.  This is not to say we are over what has happened to us, but that walking helps us process the trauma and helps prevent us from burying things that may later manifest in unwanted ways.

“It has helped us realise that we must follow our instincts more than ever before, in the interests of protecting our mental health.

“We met some incredible people who responded to us being open about our story. Many people who we met on the path and at the Airbnbs have since donated.

“By coincidence, we stayed with a midwife and on another occasion a neonatal nurse.  It’s like we asked the universe for help by being open and it gave us some amazing people.”

The couple have raised nearly £6,000, smashing their target of £3,000.

The money raised will  go to the baby charity Tommy’s, which funds research into the causes and prevention of pregnancy complications that lead to miscarriage, stillbirth and premature birth.

Thinking ahead to life after the walk, Rob said, “We put a lot of energy into planning Joe’s memorial and the walk. It’s a bit of an anti-climax now, but we are ensuring we utilise the professional support available so that we properly communicate regarding our grief and avoid burying things emotionally.

“We each have various projects in our lives, but in terms of fundraising we are starting to think about what things we can do annually and putting on a charity gig in our local pub in the autumn.”

Rob also has plans to turn the couple’s blog into a book.

You can still donate to Walk for Joe by visiting https://mydonate.bt.com/fundraisers/walkforjoe. You can also read Rob and Lou’s blog about their walk at https://robspalders.wix site.com/mysite