MORE than 425 people, many of them from Wiltshire, have signed up to take part in the Royal United Hospital’s Walk of Life on Saturday May 11.

Those taking part can choose to either walk the full 26.2 miles from Bishop Cannings, near Devizes, to the Holbourne Museum in Bath.

Alternatively, they can walk the 10 miles from Victory Field, in Bradford on Avon in the afternoon, heading to the finish line.

The afternoon walk begins at 1pm and will be opened by the Bradford on Avon mayor Alex Kay, and BBC radio presenter Ali Vowles.

They are all walking to raise funds that will help transform patient care at the RUH, the acute district hospital for Bath & North East Somerset and West Wiltshire.

Although its now too late to sign up to walk, the organisers hope people will turn out to support those raising the vital funds.

The Forever Friends Appeal celebrates its 20th anniversary in June and the RUH is inviting people to fundraise for some special appeals including the hospital’s facial surgery and orthodontics unit, critical care unit, BreastUnit and The Friendly Faces Project.

Laura Pearce, spokeswoman for The Forever Friends Appeal at the RUH, which organises the walk, said: “Last year’s event raised an incredible £110,000 and we hope that this year will continue to raise thousands more.”

That money has helped fund a number of projects including the RUH Cancer Care campaign for the new Dyson Cancer Centre, the new Royal National Hospital for Rheumatic Diseases and Therapies Centre, as well as support wards and departments in the hospital.

Among the walkers will be RUH Chief Executive James Scott, who will be walking the 10-mile section with his cocker spaniel Jasper.

Mr Scott said: “I am incredibly proud of the Forever Friends Appeal and what they have achieved during the past 20 years.

“I have witnessed firsthand the difference our charity has made to patients and their families, and by taking part in this year’s Walk of Life, this is me doing my bit for the appeal.

“I never cease to be amazed by the hundreds of inspirational walkers who come together with the aim of wanting to make a real difference for future patients.

“I am looking forward to meeting some of our supporters along the way and hearing their stories, and I want to take this opportunity to thank everyone who’s taking part.”

Michael Eavis CBE, the Glastonbury Festival founder, will be at the start line to set everyone off on the walk.

Everyone who completes the challenge will receive a special edition 20th anniversary Walk of Life t-shirt and finisher medal.

Everyone taking part is asked to raise a minimum £100 for any ward or department at the RUH, or one of the charity’s major campaigns, the RNHRD and Therapies Centre and the Dyson Cancer Care.Volunteers will support walkers canalside with drinks and refreshments.