Westgate Labs Complete 25 Mile Charity Hike Celebrating 25 Years in Business and Raising Vital Funds for World Horse Welfare 

Westgate Labs Complete 25 Mile Charity Hike

Westgate Labs Complete 25 Mile Charity Hike

17 June 2024

Celebrating 25 Years in Business and Raising Vital Funds for World Horse Welfare 

Saturday 15th June saw staff and friends of Westgate Labs set out on an epic challenge to celebrate their 25 years in business working to improve the parasite control of horses and other grazing animals. An intrepid team from the postal worm egg count specialists chose a 25-mile endurance walk down the rugged coastline of their home county of Northumberland to mark the milestone. 

“25 for 25 has a good ring to it doesn’t it!” quipped Office Manager, Sarah Mitchinson who first came up with the idea. “At that point I’m not sure any of us really knew what we were taking on, except that we wanted to do something momentous that would challenge ourselves, get fitter and raise money for charity along the way. The whole team have risen to the occasion, dedicating themselves to hours of training and clocking up the miles.  

“On the day it couldn’t have gone better. The route and the weather were stunning, our support crew pulled out all the stops and our reasons for walking, Westgate’s big birthday and raising money for horses in need, all helped to keep morale high. I’d say we loved most of it, but the final miles definitely took their toll!  

“People pushed on through blisters, old injury niggles, horrendous toothache and more, some getting home by pure grit and determination. I’m proud of team Westgate and we’re all so grateful for the amazing support and generous donations we’ve received. We’ve pushed ourselves and come out on top, it’s been amazing.” 

11 walkers, plus Sarah’s heroic rescue dog Diesel, set off from the majestic Bamburgh Castle in north Northumberland. All completed with more team members joining along the way as the route wound down the coast, past the atmospheric ruins of Dunstanburgh Castle and through pretty seaside villages. A total of 18 finishers marched the last hill to cross the line at the Castle gates in medieval Warkworth, each person setting themselves a stretch goal and achieving above and beyond their own limits.  

The final completion time, which turned out to be 26.5 miles on the ground, took 11 hrs 12 mins – except for John Phizaklea, husband of our cleaner Jen, who ran 27.2 miles to complete in an impressive 4hrs 57 mins! A special shout out must also go to 25-year-old lab technician, Isla Dagg who smashed the training and stormed the route, despite living with a serious condition called Pulmonary Hypertension that reduces blood flow to the heart and lungs. A huge achievement indeed to not only complete but lead from the front! 

“It was great to feel the Westgate family out in full force; what a fitting celebration of our 25 years, in service to horse welfare” commented Director, Claire Shand. “Everyone rallied to support each other, and we had fantastic backup from our ground crew. My mum and dad, Westgate’s founders, [Gillian and David Booth] came out to cook bacon sandwiches for us all at the halfway point. Project Manager Katrina Pedlar shadowed the route and checked in every five miles with water and snacks.  

“We couldn’t have done it without everyone playing their part. More than anything we are so grateful to everyone’s donations and kind words that have kept us going, helped us dig deep and make it all worthwhile. Our current fundraising total stands at £2,114. We’re hoping there’s still a bit more to come with every penny going to support the incredible work of World Horse Welfare and all they do for our equine friends.” 

Co-founder Gillian Booth added: “We are so proud of the whole team for the way they have pulled together, given up their time and made such an effort for a good cause. It’s hard to believe how far our little business has come from the gem of what it was all those years ago.” 

You can donate to World Horse Welfare and vulnerable horses in need, through the Just Giving Page using the link below.