Vicki’s story: Taking on one of UK’s toughest challenges to raise funds for WAY

May 2024

On Saturday, 15 June, WAY Widowed and Young member Vicki is taking on a gruelling 15-mile military-style challenge to raise funds for our charity. She explains why…



On Saturday, 15 June I’m taking part in a race known as the “Fan Dance”, which is a 24km (15 mile) military route march across the Brecon Beacons. Traditionally a major part of the selection process for soldiers undergoing selection to join the UK’s Special Forces, the infamous challenge begins as soon as the race does, according to race website, with an immediate ascent of Pen y Fan, which is the highest peak in South Wales, standing at 2,907 feet (886m). 

Why did you choose to support WAY?

My partner Craig is an army veteran, and I am doing the event in his memory to give me a goal to focus on. I decided to make it into a charity event as I was struggling with motivation to train and needed some accountability. 

Craig and I had only been together for a couple of years and were unmarried, therefore, when he died the term ‘widow’ didn’t apply to me. This doesn’t seem to be a problem until you realise there is no way to describe a grieving partner. In a world where we are validated in society by our titles, I was left feeling very disconnected. 

When did you join WAY and how has the charity supported you?

I joined WAY in March 2023, two months after losing Craig. It was the best thing I could have done. Being a member means that – no matter what time of the day or night – there is always someone to speak to who ‘gets it’. Even if it’s a post in the Facebook group ranting about how unfair life is, someone will rant with you or offer some virtual hugs. 

But the major thing WAY has given me is friendship. I wasn’t alone anymore in this journey and that was and still is huge. WAY is a member only charity, another plus for me as I don’t have to worry about being taken advantage of when already in a vulnerable state.

Since joining, I’ve gained the confidence to attend meet ups through our local WAY group, going for coffee or lunch, walks in the park or evenings out. It’s so good to be able to get out of the house and make new friends, knowing that you don’t have to explain your situation or be the odd one out. You can just be yourself - I will never be able to repay what WAY has given me.

Why should people make a donation?

Grief is such a strange thing. It’s something that really we don’t consider until it happens to us. When it happens and we need support, it’s typically the time when that support becomes harder to find. What WAY offers is invaluable for people who find their lives have been turned upside down and inside out – often in an instant. 

Please consider donating to help WAY continue this amazing work that they are doing and to reach out to support more people. Grieving is hard enough without feeling alone as well.