In April last year Josie Kemp’s mum, Pippa Stone, passed away. Out of the blue she’d had a seizure, which they learned later had been caused by an aggressive brain tumour, and sadly she died just 18 days later. Pippa had just turned 60, she retired a week before her diagnosis and her and her husband, Andrew Kemp, had been planning to travel the world. It was a devastating shock for all who loved her. When Pippa was told she had weeks to live, her response was ‘it is what it is’, and her strength has carried her family through the months since and inspired them to live with the same courage that she radiated.
Her daughter, Josie, wanted to do something positive in her memory so she and her partner, Lauren Soley, are going to walk the Jurassic Coast to raise money for a charity close to both of their hearts: Cancer Research UK. Lauren and Josie have said that ‘to be able to raise vital funds for research and to support this incredible charity, which has been struggling through the pandemic, would be truly heartening to us both’. Lauren, who will be walking alongside Josie to reach their target, also sadly lost her father to a brain tumour. Together they are determined to try to make a difference. Lauren and Josie have been together almost 4 years and met as actors in Les Misérables in The West End, although both have since moved back to Josie’s home city of Exeter since her mum passed away.
The route for their challenge is from Exmouth in Devon to Swanage in Dorset, and they will don their walking boots from the 13th to the 19th of March 2021. They have organised this sponsored trek on their own, ‘just us, our backpacks and several packed lunches’. The length of their walk is just over 100 miles and their goal to complete the challenge in 7 days, covering as many as 20 miles a day, come rain or shine. They have said that ‘it is guaranteed to be a shock in comparison to the 100 daily steps we are currently taking during lockdown … from the sofa to the fridge, and back again – but we’re determined to succeed.’
They understand how tough a time this is to encourage charitable donations, but Cancer Research UK has experienced a huge drop in funding during this time and their work has been slowed by the impact of Covid-19. ‘It would mean so much to us to be able to contribute to what this great organisation does. Any donation, big or small, or even a share of this page, will help. Please spread the word to help us go above and beyond our fundraising target!’
Josie’s mum would have been 61 on March 21st and Lauren’s dad 57 on March 4th, so this month holds a lot of emotional weight for them both. And so they ‘want to stomp 100 miles, whatever the weather, each step sparing a thought for those who have been affected by this awful illness.’
‘Let’s raise as much as we possibly can and fight back against cancer. Make the blisters worth it! Your support would mean the world.’
Please support their challenge with whatever you can via their Just Giving page: https://www.justgiving.com/fundraising/jurassic-coast-challenge-fundraiser
Follow their journey: Instagram: @josiekemp0, @laurenjsoley
YouTube: ‘Josie & Lauren, Covers & Covering Ground’