A woman who has had two open heart surgeries will be taking on an eight-mile trek to raise money for children with life-limiting or life-threatening conditions.

Jenny Beatt, 64, and a long standing volunteer for Dorset-based charity Julia's House will be spending her 65th birthday walking from Dorchester to Weymouth as she attempts to raise £1,000.

At 8am on Sunday, July 7, Jenny will be stepping out on her fundraising trek, from the charity’s shop on South Street in Dorchester to its shop on St Mary Street in Weymouth. 

She will be joined on the first part of her journey by Dorchester shop manager Helen Hodgetts and for the final part by Tanza Fife, the stores assistant manager.

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En-route, Jenny’s daughter and other family and friends will be joining her for sections of the walk, as well as bringing supplies to keep her going, and is hoping to reach the Weymouth store before it closes at 4pm.

She said: “While eight miles might not seem a lot to some people, it is a big distance for me.  I’ve had two lots of open-heart surgery, most recently at the end of 2022, so walking long distances isn’t easy and I get very breathless. 

"But I’ve been training and the support in the shop and from the local community has been amazing – I’ve raised £490 already.”

Julia’s House shop manager, Helen Hodgetts, added: “We’re all so proud of Jenny.  She always goes the extra mile to help our customers and now she’s going the extra mile, literally, to help Julia’s House and all the families we support.  Huge thank you Jenny.”

Jenny started volunteering at Julia’s House when she retired nine years ago. 

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She first came across the local charity when she worked with children supported by Julia’s House in her role as a speech and language therapist, so understands what a difference their care makes to local children and families. 

Jenny volunteers at the Dorchester shop, known for its fantastic fancy dress collection, at least two afternoons a week and loves the work as well as the opportunity to chat and meet new people and feels that 'it’s a bit like a family'.

She added: “The care Julia’s House provides is so important and I know that government funding is very limited, so I just wanted to help in any way I could.  It just feels the right time to take on a challenge and fundraise.

READ: Dorset Portman Hunt raise over £6000 for Julia's House

“When I was 10 years old I had cancer, which was a very difficult time for my family, especially my sister. 

"It is only recently that I realised just what an impact my serious illness had on her and at that time there wasn’t the kind of support provided to siblings that Julia’s House provides now – she would have loved some of the fun days and events they organise and just someone to talk to about how she was feeling.”

Jenny has set up a Just Giving page and the Weymouth and Dorchester Julia’s House shops both have collection cans and Jenny will be collecting donations during the walk itself.

She added: “I’d love people to show their support for Julia’s House.  It will mean the world to local children and families and to me on my birthday too."

To donate to Jenny's cause visit: www.justgiving.com/page/jenny-beatt-1716203407232