A member of the Prior’s Court team is overcoming the national lockdown and the weather to ensure she is prepared for a walking fundraiser to help us support young people affected by severe autism.

Hannah Merritt, our Training and Development Co-Ordinator, will be completing a 47km walk as part of the Cotswold Way Challenge in June.

Hannah has chronic asthma and so has spent extensive periods of the past 10 months having to shield and, when she has been going out, being cautious about where due to the risk interacting with people would bring.

This has made her training for the endurance challenge – with regular walks of up to 25km needed -  more difficult.

Hannah said: “Training is tough at the moment with the third lockdown and being vulnerable, so I have to be very careful about when and where I go out for a walk.

“The weather also isn’t helping but I’m powering through as I know what I’m doing is for such a great cause a little bit of snow or rain will not stop me!”

The challenge will take Hannah, and her husband Marc who is also taking part, up to 12 hours to complete.

This is the fourth extreme walking challenge Hannah has taken on with this fundraiser taking her from Wotton to Cirencester, with 620m of elevation changes to tackle along the way.

This is the first time Hannah has chosen to fundraise for Prior’s Court, following on from joining us in March 2019.

Hannah added: “I’m excited to get the event underway so I am really hoping it’s not delayed or cancelled due to Covid-19. The older I get the more it hurts so I know I’m not in for an easy ride but it’s all worth it.

“Many people may not have a huge amount of knowledge around autism, which is something I am keen to change and make people aware of through this fundraising.

“The young people we have at Prior’s Court deserve the very best for everything they teach us and those that work closely alongside them. Every donation, big or small, will go towards helping our young people live their best lives and be as happy and fulfilled as possible.

“Thank you to all those who have supported me so far.”

Before Christmas, Hannah raised money through sales of “hot chocolate reindeer” packages which added £100 to her fundraising total.

The money raised by Hannah will go towards projects to support our young people.

To donate, go to https://www.justgiving.com/fundraising/hannah-merritt4.