A CHILLY start couldn’t stop 150 people taking part in this year’s Hackpen Hill 10k in aid of Great Western Hospital’s Brighter Futures appeal.

The annual event, held at Weir Farm in Broad Hinton, was first created three years ago in memory of Gill Hussey, the wife of the farm’s owner James, who died at the end of 2014 after a long fight with cancer.

Since then, thousands of pounds have been raised for the hospital appeal - with £2,500 expected to be raised from Sunday's run.

The challenging terrain saw 150 people run or walk the tracks and farm fields skirting the historic Ridgeway trail, allowing them to take in the surrounding areas of natural beauty.

Organiser Paul Bailey, 43, who lives in Wroughton, said he was over the moon to see so many people taking part as well as the number of family and friends on hand to provide much-needed support.

“It is such a stunning place to run," he said.

“I grew up on this farm and my dad still works here. I have known James all my life and we decided to organise this run in Gill’s memory and raise money for Brighter Futures because if they reach the target it will benefit everyone.

“There are lots of people from Broad Hinton here who know the family and they turn up to support the event every year. We know a lot of people aren’t into running but we still get a lot of people turn up to do the walk.

“It is a challenging route but it is such a scenic course and once you’ve tackled the hill, it is all downhill from then on.

“The people who organise and marshal the event are all runners and we try to make it an event we would want to run in and afterwards people can come back and enjoy a barbecue and piece of cake together.

“Even if we raise £10, that is £10 that Brighter Futures never had yesterday.”

As well as being a lasting legacy in Gill's memory, Paul wanted to create something which would help fund the new radiotherapy centre and end the tiresome Oxford journey for Swindon’s cancer patients.

One of the brave runners taking part was Jane Colbourne who lives near Chippenham.

The 49-year-old said: “I did the 10k last year after my friend asked me to take part and that's why I decided to do it again.

“I think the cause is one of the main drivers for people to take part.

“When we were here last year they did a few words at the beginning about Gill and why they have organised it.”

Walkers were allowed to set off before the runners followed closely behind - all led on their way by James Hussey on his horse.

Head of fundraising at Brighter Futures, Catherine Newman, was on hand to give runners that extra supportive boost.

“We have got a really great relationship with James and he puts on lots of events for us including the crop circles and he has probably raised over £13,000 for the charity," she said.

“It is just incredible and he is so determined to help us get that centre in memory of Gill but also for so many other people.

“Gill was so loved by everyone and the community know her which is why Weir Farm is so popular – I think everyone is doing it in her honour.

“Cancer is sadly something that unites us all and it is great that something positive has been created in Gill’s memory."