Nurses trek India for their patients

26 September 2016

Four nurses are taking on the challenge of a lifetime in memory of their patients and to raise money for terminally ill adults and children.

The nurses from Keech Hospice Care in Luton, along with ten other staff and supporters from the charity, will be trekking across the tough terrain of Kerala, South India.

Shirley Gadsden, nurse manager for the adult in-patient unit at Keech Hospice Care, said she’s totally out of her comfort zone.

“The group’s a pretty mixed bag, ranging from the hospice’s nurses and a doctor to our receptionist and fundraisers. We’re worried about what we’re going to face. We’ve been in training as the trek is classed as ‘challenging’. It’s three days and we’ll be walking about 15km a day in the middle of nowhere over tough terrain and sleeping in tents. When the tough times come, I’ll be thinking of my patients and that’ll push me through.”

Kerry Duffy, senior staff nurse at Keech Hospice Care said she has her own trekking worries.

“Creepy crawlies, leeches, snakes, tigers, lack of toilets and camping are at the top of my worry list! I’m 30 next year and on the adult inpatient unit at Keech Hospice Care, we’ve sadly had a lot of patients around my age who have died recently. It makes me appreciate life. I’ve never done anything like this before but I just said to myself – go for it! Live life!”

It’s hoped the trek will raise thousands of pounds to help Keech Hospice Care continue its excellent support for life-limited adults and children.

“As a charity, Keech Hospice Care has to raise 70% of its funding from its community,” said Kerry. “I want to be sure we can continue to provide exceptional care to patients and their families at a time in their lives they need it most.

“We laugh about the fact we’re a hospice which runs on cake, so we’ve had copious bake sales to raise money for the trek and the nurses have held casino, quiz and curry nights,” she said.

Once the gruelling trek is complete, the group will leave a lasting legacy in South India by painting large murals at a tribal school to encourage learning and help out at an orphanage.

Lynn Russell, group leader and events fundraiser at Keech Hospice Care, said a piece of Dunstable’s history will also be left behind.

“Thanks to Ashton Middle School in Dunstable, some of India’s school children will have new pens, pencils, highlighters, and exercise and reading books. When Ashton Middle School closed down last summer, its head teacher, Shirley Hollis, kindly invited Keech Hospice Care along to take anything we felt would be useful to take with us on the trek. Luton Town Football Club has also donated 30 shirts and I can’t wait to see the children’s faces and watch them kicking a ball around wearing them!”

To donate to Keech Hospice Care’s trek India fund visit or The group departs from Keech Hospice Care, Luton, on Sunday 2 October 2016 and will walk in support of national Hospice Care Week which runs from 3 to 9 October 2016.

For further information contact Lorna Milton, Senior PR Officer at Keech Hospice Care on 01582 497874/ 07824606856 or at