Best feet forward for Chamber team on night shift

An intrepid team from Hampshire Chamber of Commerce will be putting their best feet forward to take part in a gruelling 40-mile midnight hike for charity this summer.

Four experienced walkers are set to take part in The Plod across the South Downs Way to raise cash for children’s charity Action Medical Research.

And they hope Hampshire businesses will dig deep to back them all the way.

The quartet hitting the road with the aim of smashing a £1,500 fundraising target are Chamber Business Development Manager Mark Baulch, Accountant Eddie Bell, Programme Manager Richard Hall and Membership Manager David Kemshall.

Backing the team pushing themselves to the limit for the exhausting July 16 event – estimated to take 82,000 steps over the Sussex countryside – is support driver Tony McKenzie.

Mark said: “We are all keen walkers and wanted to do something for charity this year. We felt Action Medical Research for Children was ideal as their good work is done in hospitals in Hampshire, including Southampton.

“I am appealing to all Chamber members and businesses throughout Hampshire to back our effort to boost a charity that has been saving and changing children’s lives by funding medical research and breakthroughs since 1952.”

The mixed ability and age team has been undergoing a tough training programme to compete in the Plod since the beginning of the year.

They have been walking an increasing number of miles each week – individually as they are based in different parts of the county – and expected to have hundreds of miles under their belts by July.

The 40-mile (64km) slog begins on the stroke of midnight at the ancient site of Devil’s Dyke, just north of Brighton and follows the beautiful South Downs Way past Ditchling Beacon, Lewes Castle, Alfriston and the Seven Sisters cliffs to the finish line at Beachy Head, Eastbourne.

Walkers have a limit of 18 hours in which to complete the endurance event, during which they will climb 4,900ft (1,500m) and are likely to burn 5,000 calories, but the Hampshire Chamber team hopes to do it in just 13 hours.

Mark added: “It is a big challenge, both physically and then mentally, especially over the last 10 miles. Hiking in darkness is not easy and we will be wearing head torches, using hiking poles and refuelling regularly at checkpoints on the way.

“Most people’s reaction when I’ve told them what we are doing is to say ‘you must be mad’, but we are all really looking forward to this adventure and are determined to prepare for and complete the trek.”

Chamber Chief Executive Stewart Dunn said: “I have the utmost respect for our gallant team who will be yomping away while the rest of the country sleeps. They are raising money for a brilliant cause.”

To sponsor The Plod team please go to or email .



NIGHT HIKE: The Hampshire Chamber of Commerce Plod team, from left, Tony McKenzie, support driver, Eddie Bell, Mark Baulch, Richard Hall and David Kemshall

NIGHT HIKE: The Hampshire Chamber of Commerce Plod team, from left, Tony McKenzie, support driver, Eddie Bell, Mark Baulch, Richard Hall and David Kemshall

Notes to editors

Hampshire Chamber of Commerce is the independent voice of local business across the county and one of the largest regional business networks in the UK.  It brings together the combined influence, strength and expertise of Hampshire’s three former major chambers of commerce. It works with over 2,000 individual firms spanning all sectors and sizes of business. For more information, visit or follow on Twitter at

HCC is affiliated to The British Chambers of Commerce (BCC), a powerful network of 52 accredited Chambers of Commerce across the UK, representing thousands of businesses of all sizes and within all sectors. For more information visit

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