Arkesden woman to walk from London to Brighton in aid of British Heart Foundation

Jo Baillie-Smith and Fiona Layzell will walk from London to Brighton for charity.

Jo Baillie-Smith and Fiona Layzell will walk from London to Brighton for charity. - Credit: Archant

A fundraiser will have free access to “world-class” fitness facilities to build up her strength in preparation for a ­demanding 65-mile trek.

Jo Baillie-Smith, 42, will be taking part in the overnight challenge from London to Brighton to help raise money for the British Heart Foundation.

The business development director will be joined by her friend Fiona Layzell and they will leave London on June 21.

They have 30 hours to complete the mammoth fundraiser but it’s not for the faint-hearted ... only 50 per cent of ­walkers usually manage to cross the finishing line.

To help Jo along with her training – and to ensure she is fully prepared for the physical demands of the challenge – the Lord Butler Leisure Centre, in Peaslands Road, Saffron Walden, has offered her free membership to the gym.


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Jo, from Arkesden, said: “I am so ­grateful the leisure centre is supporting me with access to its facilities.

“The trek will be far from easy, but as long as I can improve my cardiovascular fitness I am confident I can get to Brighton – I might even treat myself to an ice cream on the beach!”

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The charity carries some significance to Jo because both her father and sister suffer from heart disease.

“I wanted to do something for the British Heart Foundation because I know a lot of people who have been affected by heart disease, including my dad and sister,” Jo told the Reporter.

“I am not a fan of heights so when I saw this event it just ticked all the boxes. I am really looking forward to it and I am aiming to do it in less than 30 hours.”

Phil Wallis, contract manager at Lord Butler, was pleased the leisure centre could help out.

He said: “We wish Jo every success for her training and the overnight walk.

“We hope our facilities help her reach the fitness levels required and I’m sure she will do a fantastic job to support a brilliant charity.”

• To donate, visit justgiving.com/owner-email/pleasesponsor/Jo-Baillie-Smith

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