Rowcroft Hospice is inviting the South Devon community to kick off the new year by signing up to The Big Tackle eight-mile sponsored walk. Previously known as The Male Trail, The Big Tackle starts from 10.30am at Torquay Rugby Club and takes in a beautiful scenic route around Torbay, with participants welcomed back to the club afterwards with a free beer and delicious pasty while watching the Six Nations Rugby on the screen in the marquee. Sign-ups are open now at www.thebigtackle.org.uk with an early bird discount of 20% off when using code EPIC before 4 February. All funds raised from the event will go to caring for patients with life-limiting illnesses and their loved ones across South Devon.
“Rowcroft’s Big Tackle is a social highlight of the year,” said Rowcroft’s Community Engagement Manager Alexia Croft. “It’s a great opportunity to get together with friends and family to enjoy an exciting challenge in the fresh sea air, and all for the worthwhile local cause of raising vital funds for the hospice’s specialist care in the community. It’s a fantastic day out – complete with spectacular scenery and plenty of watering holes along the eight-mile course, and the screening of the Six Nations Rugby is always much enjoyed at the end of the day. And for those who are walking in memory of someone they miss, there are plenty of opportunities to raise a glass to absent loved ones.
“Each £25 raised in sponsorship could fund an hour of care during a first home visit by a Rowcroft nurse, so they can start offering tailored specialist support to a patient and those closest to them.”
Last year’s Big Tackle brought together 600 participants who raised over £90,000 for the hospice – enough to fund around 3,600 hours of expert care during home visits by Rowcroft nurses as they support patients and their loved ones across South Devon. This year, the charity is hoping to raise even more.
Paignton’s Gary Adderley, 58, has taken part in the fundraising event a few times. He said: “The Big Tackle offers a great chance to get together with friends and I believe it’s helped to keep our bond as a group of mates very strong. Our group includes several of the lads I went to school with (Audley Park, now Torquay Academy) and we sometimes don’t see much of each other, so The Big Tackle brings us back together each year. Our friend John Bush (aka ‘Bushy’) did the walk with us in 2022. Nobody could have predicted that he wouldn’t be there the following year – he was only 56 when he died of cancer.
“After Bushy died, it seemed like a natural thing to do the Big Tackle the following year in 2023 in his memory. There was a disbelief that he wasn’t there, but everyone thought it was a great idea to come together as a way of remembering him, and it gave us something tangible to do to show we are still thinking of him. On our backs, we all wrote his name, and the names of other people we had lost, and at every opportunity we had a drink and raised a glass to him.”
Sponsored by WBW Solicitors, Torbay Clearance Services and Bays Brewery, and with the support of Torquay Rugby Club, The Big Tackle is one of Rowcroft’s flagship fundraising events and is open to all over the age of eight. With the 20% discount code of EPIC, it costs just £22.40 to sign up (£16 for under 18s) and Rowcroft asks participants to either raise or donate a minimum of £20 to support the hospice.
The Big Tackle is part of Rowcroft’s No One Alone Appeal that aims to raise funds to expand the hospice’s specialist services. While Rowcroft Hospice is playing a key role in delivering expert end-of-life care across South Devon to 2,500 patients with life-limiting illnesses and to those closest to them each year, the charity recognises the harsh reality that too many people are unable to access the essential end-of-life care they need due to a critical gap in resources and funding. Through the appeal, by 2026 Rowcroft aims to raise an additional £500,000 annually to help care for 260 more patients every year. This will be a key milestone towards the hospice’s longer term goal of supporting an annual total of 3,000 patients and their loved ones by 2030. To find out more about Rowcroft’s No One Alone Appeal, please go to www.rowcrofthospice.org.uk/no-one-alone