Alexandra’s fundraising challenge

Alexandra is an independent fundraiser from Surrey who chose to combine her love of walking with the aspiration to raise money for a worthy cause. Over 6 days Alexandra walked a total of 77 miles, with an itinerary of 25 Costa Coffee stores to stop at along the way. The challenge has raised roughly £400 which will aid the building of schools and the provision of education tools such as textbooks and classroom equipment.  

We asked Alexandra to share her experience.

I chose to walk for the Costa Foundation because one of my favourite hobbies is walking and I love Costa coffee shops. I had seen posters and information about the charity when I was in store, which inspired the idea to do the walk.

I have taken part in many hikes before including the Annapurna Circuit in Nepal, Inca Trail in Peru, Queen Charlotte Track in New Zealand, Kilimanjaro, the 3 UK highest peaks, a trek through the Amazonian rainforest in Brazil; and by far my toughest challenge to date was the trek to Everest Base Camp (5400m) in 2016.

The most I've ever walked in one day was from Eastbourne to Brighton on the South Downs Way -31 km in total. My next trip is to Italy in September, where I will be trekking for 5 days in the Dolomites mountain range.

My general experience of the Costa walk was excellent, and I enjoyed it very much.  The weather was mainly kind to me, only one rainy day out of 6 which I can't complain about. 

The toughest time during the challenge was probably walking from Farnham to Godalming as it took 3 hours non-stop and was the longest stretch on the route. After a short rest in Godalming Costa I had to walk a further 2 hrs 45 mins to the Cranleigh branch. All in all, a very long day and I was exhausted after doing 17 miles.

On the Sunday when I walked for 2 hours from Woking to Guildford it rained quite heavily constantly so that was pretty uncomfortable! So nice to arrive at a Costa at the end of it & have a comforting latte!

Alexandra with the team at Costa Guildford

My favourite moment during my challenge was arriving at the shop in Reigate as I was treated like a celebrity! I had such a friendly welcome from the manager and the rest of the staff team. They introduced me to some regular customers, so I felt relaxed about chatting to them, handing out leaflets and persuading them to sponsor me. On top of that I was given free food & drink, and the manager Hannah took a photo of me outside the shop with the staff and said she would post it on Facebook. I spent nearly an hour there and reluctantly set off for Redhill! I received an equally lovely welcome at the Leatherhead shop from manager Ian, he was really interested in what I was doing, gave me lots of praise.

At the end of the challenge which was the Camberley Mall Costa, I felt absolutely shattered and relieved it was over but also immensely satisfied that I had achieved what I set out to do. It was lovely chatting to Becky & Polly from the Costa Foundation, they came to meet me at the last store. We had a group photo taken with the Assistant Manager Damian. I really felt I had done something worthwhile and made a difference to children's lives somewhere in the world.

I would like to thank the Costa Foundation for giving me a gift card to spend on my travels - however I did not need to use it much as most of the stores gave me food and/or drink on the house!

I have been back to the West Byfleet Costa since my walk and the staff in there were keen to know how my walk went and asked lots of questions, it was lovely that they were so enthusiastic. Maybe it will persuade them to do something similar!

The walk will hold many special memories for me, especially the kind and friendly people I chatted to along the way. I will think about the experience whenever I go in a Costa from now on - mine's a medium skinny latte by the way!



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