Over £17K has been raised by dog lovers across the South East who took part in Hound Hike 100 – a sponsored dog walk organised by Air Ambulance Charity Kent Surrey Sussex (KSS) which invited people to walk a total of 100km or 100 miles with their canine companions throughout the month of April.


More than 100 people took part in the event, walking over 10,200 miles to help KSS raise vital funds. Each year, the charity must raise £15.2M to operate its life-saving service, and 86% of its total income is raised through the generosity of its supporters.


Amongst those taking part was Sally-Ann Othen who completed the challenge with her labradoodle, Ted. Sally-Ann, who lives in Chertsey, Surrey, said:


“The Hound Hike 100 was a challenge I had seen on Facebook and thought it would be good motivation for me to up my mileage on my daily walks. I had been struggling with a difficult time in my personal life and this really helped me to re-centre my mental well-being. With the support of my “best friend” Ted we managed to raise over £1,000.”


Former KSS patient, Graham Beswick, from Greenhithe in Kent, also took part in Hound Hike 100, along with his wife, Sarah and sproodle, Betty. In 2018, Graham suffered a cardiac arrest whilst playing golf. KSS provided life-saving treatment at the scene and then rapidly transferred Graham to hospital to continue his care. Graham said:


“I want to do whatever I can to help KSS so I always try to take part in their fundraising challenges. We took part in Hound Hike 100 last year and have done KSS’s Run 31 fundraisers too. We ended up walking about 140k as part of this year’s Hound Hike 100 and we really enjoyed it. Instead of doing our usual dog walks in the local park, we planned longer routes and ended up exploring different parts of Kent and discovering beautiful new places.


“It was also great to be part of the Hound Hike 100 Facebook community which KSS set up. This was a really supportive group for people doing this challenge. Sarah and I posted an invitation for Hound Hike 100 participants to meet for a walk in Tunbridge Wells and about 16 people and 10 dogs attended which was fantastic. It was lovely to have the opportunity to meet so many other KSS supporters and to hear their reasons for taking part in Hound Hike 100 – and it was even better because all the dogs got on so well too!”


Lauren Simmons, Head of Events at KSS, said:


“On behalf of Team KSS, a huge thank you to everyone who took part in Hound Hike 100, and to Gatwick Airport who kindly sponsored this event.”


“We could not do what we do without the support of our local community, and there is an increasing demand for our service. Last year was our busiest year in our 32-year history, and already this year we have responded to over 1,194 incidents, delivering life-saving care to those in urgent medical need.


“With your help, we can save lives and ensure the best possible outcomes for our patients. Your support is as critical as our care.”


For further information about Air Ambulance Charity Kent Surrey Sussex: