Bishop Stortford College students raise £21k for charity on marathon walk

Three teenage girls walking across a log in forest wearing blue tracksuits

From left, Bishop Stortford students Maddie, Ellie and Emelia walked 26.4 miles for charity, raising more than £21,000. - Credit: Supplied

Two sixth formers at Bishop Stortford College smashed their original target of £2,640 to raise £21,260 for the Motor Neurone Disease Association by walking 26.4 miles.  

Ellie Lewis, 18, and Emelia Mitchell, 17, who were joined by friend Maddie Newitt, walked from Ugley Green to Cambridge on Saturday (March 20), to show their love and support for Ellie’s mother Gilly, who lives with MND.  

The journey took nine hours to complete, with the trio walking for seven and a half hours, spurred on by supporters cheering them on.  

Emelia said: “The first 10 miles went by quickly and the last eight were the hardest part. It was exhilarating to walk the last 20 metres with Chariots of Fire booming out of a speaker, with Gilly and a small group of supporters watching us complete the marathon.” 

Ellie said: “The day was better than I ever thought it would be! 

“The best part was seeing how proud my mum was when we met her at the end, along with the constant support of various villagers and family members during the walk. I think Emelia will agree it really kept our spirits high!”

Three teenage girls pose for a selfie.

From left, Maddie, Ellie and Emelia on their charity walk from Ugley Green to Cambridge. - Credit: Supplied

Gilly said: “MND is a devastating disease which affects the whole family. I’m so grateful for the love and support of my family and friends. I am so proud of the girls' achievement.” 

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Simon Lewis, Ellie’s dad said: "Thank you to everyone who played a major part in this effort, none more so than the girls for completing the walk.”

Simon also paid thanks to the Newport community, especially Darren Taylor, managing director at Holroyd Components, for his generous donation that helped spread the details of the charity event.  

Full-time mum Gilly was diagnosed with MND in October 2018, aged 53, after she started tripping over.   

As a progressive condition, Gilly has lost the ability to walk and her speech has also gone. To communicate, she uses a device that reads her eye movements.  

Two teenage girls in blue tracksuits and an older woman in a wheelchair pose for a photo.

Newport residents Ellie Lewis (left) with her mother Gilly, and Emelia Mitchell (right) from Ugley Green. - Credit: Supplied

MND is a rapidly progressing disease that affects the brain and spinal cord and has no cure. It attacks the nerves that control movement so muscles no longer work.

It can leave people locked in a failing body, unable to move, talk and eventually breathe. It kills a third of people within a year of diagnosis. 

The Lewises are now urging people to sign the Increase funding for urgent research into devastating motor neurone disease petition, which asks for a £50m investment over five years to set up an MND Research Institute, spearheaded by the MND Association. 

Ellie and Emelia’s fundraising drive remains open until April 10. To donate, visit their go fund me page, Emelia and Ellie’s marathon for MND.  

For more information on MND, visit MND Association.