Edward Russell, Brand Manager for Doctor Who, has raised nearly £20,000 in memory of Elisabeth Sladen who played Sarah Jane Smith in the hit television series. By walking from the BBC studios in Cardiff to the corporation's Television Centre in London, Edward received donations from colleagues and fans of the show which will go to Meadow House hospice - who cared for Elisabeth when she died in April this year.
Edward walked 168 miles over a week. The route started just outside Cardiff, crossing the River Severn near Chepstow and moving through to Bath. He journeyed through Devizes, Hungerford, Reading and Windsor before reaching BBC Television Centre a week later. He walked an average of 21 miles a day.
"I was terribly upset when Lis passed away," said Edward, 41 from Cardiff. "Not only had I worked with her for five years, but being a fan of the show for most of my life, she had played a hero for me and countless other generations". He trained for three months and the route was meticulously planned. He raised much of the funds whilst walking by using social networking sites. "I tweeted details of the route and pictures. It was also great to get words of encouragement on days when my blisters hurt!".
Amounts have varied from £1 to £5000, but a particular donation caused some initial confusion. "I noticed that a generous benefactor had given £1973," said Russell. "Of course, I finally realised that this number represented the year that Lis first joined Doctor Who!".
Elisabeth was 65 when she died of Cancer on 19 April this year. In 2009, a survey by Doctor Who Magazine placed Sarah Jane as the most favourite companion of all time.