ONE of the warmest days of the year greeted hundreds of fundraisers taking part in a walk in aid of a Herefordshire hospice.

More than 500 people took part in the Big Spring Walk for St Michael's Hospice on Sunday with walkers choosing one of four routes, ranging from two kilometres to 16 kilometres.

Each route took walkers along the River Wye and across the fields and woodlands of the Hope Valley between Fownhope and Mordiford.

After completing the walk, fundraisers were treated to a display by the Paws for Thought Dog Display Team.

Jeff Kay from Kington, who took part in the walk in memory of his wife Ann, who died just after Christmas, said: "It's been fantastic to see so many people taking part in a community walk. My wife spent three months at St Michael’s and she was looked after wonderfully well.

"My family and friends wanted to make a contribution to the Hospice so other people can benefit from their services. It's still hard to come to terms with our experience, so it's good to be involved in this type of event and it is a way of remembering my wife."

Matt Ashcroft, events manager at the Bartestree-based Hospice, said: "St Michaels would like to give a massive thank you to all the walkers and the army of supporters who helped marshal and organise the event, especially our sponsors Hampton Hire.

"All of the people we talked to on the day told us how much they enjoyed rambling across some of Herefordshire's finest countryside. We hope it inspires people to get active and enjoy the health and well-being benefits of walking.

"We are hoping to raise £10,000 in sponsorship. Now we want to ask all the walkers and their friends, family and colleagues who pledged to sponsor them to ensure the event is a big success by handing in the money they've raised as soon as possible."

People of all ages were able to take part and walked at their own pace.

Susannah Sherwood, who was the first to finish the 16K walk in a time of two hours, 30 minutes, said: "I like to support St Michael's Hospice because my mother-in-law died there a couple of years ago, and they were very good to my husband and his brother. It was an excellent walk, really well sign-posted, and it was lovely to see all the children and families out enjoying the beautiful weather."