FOUR friends have travelled the distance from London to Paris in less than 24 hours to support a charity's drive for vital funding.

Kirsty Priest, George Webb, Julie Wheeler and Kenny James have raised £1,500 for the Julia’s House Together We Care Appeal by completing 88 miles each through a combination of rowing, running, and cycling. 

The group powered through the night at GW Fitness in Swindon to reach the 352-mile total distance for their chosen route between the two capital cities. 

The money raised will help the most seriously ill children and their families across Wiltshire. 

Kirsty, who lives in the Greenbridge area of Swindon, said, “I’ve got young children of my own, so when I heard about Julia’s House and the families they support, I just wanted to help in any small way I could.”

The 41-year-old soon rallied three of her gym buddies to join her in the fundraising challenge. The team met through GW Fitness, which is based at BSS House – the Swindon business centre that Kirsty manages and also where Julie’s tailoring business is located.

“We watched the charity’s Together We Care Appeal video before we started our challenge, which features some of the families that Julia’s House cares for,” said Kirsty. 

“When our legs were screaming at us to stop, thinking about them encouraged us to keep on going. It was a reminder that the pain we were all feeling was temporary, but these children and their families have to deal with so much physical and emotional pain every day.

“It also helped to have the amazing support of all the people coming in to see us in the gym,” said Kirsty.

“People were so generous with donations and offers to get us drinks and snacks. And when Kenny got injured part-way through, two of our gym friends – Mitch Hogg and Frank Simons – even stepped in to help complete his miles. 

“My 14-year-old son and 11-year-old daughter came in to see me too, which lifted my spirits when I’d hit the wall hard around the half-way point.”

She added: “We’re over the moon with how much we’ve managed to raise for Julia’s House and we’re grateful to everyone who has donated so far.”

Julia’s House children’s hospice has recently launched its Together We Care Appeal in a bid to raise essential funds to support the charity’s ongoing respite care for families of children with life-limiting and life-threatening conditions. 

Fundraiser for Julia’s House Claudia Hickin said: “We rely on donations to fund our care in Wiltshire, so we’re hugely thankful to Kirsty, George, Julie, Kenny, Mitch, Frank and everyone at GW Fitness for their support. 

“They all did an amazing job to cover so many miles in just 22 hours. They’ve raised an incredible amount of money for Julia’s House, which will help to provide vital respite care sessions and play activities for seriously ill children and their families in Wiltshire.”

To support local families and the Julia’s House Together We Care Appeal, visit: