Pearl’s Marathon Challenge for Havens Hospices

A nonagenarian volunteer has completed her own version of a marathon to raise money for a cause very close to her heart.

Pearl Naylor MBE, 94, has been volunteering for Fair Havens since the very beginning, even before the original hospice opened on Chalkwell Avenue.

Since lockdown, Pearl has been shielding at her house in Southend but, feeling helpless, she wanted to do her bit and contribute to the charity. Havens Hospices is facing a drop in income during the Coronavirus pandemic because all public fundraising events have been cancelled or postponed.

So, supported by her grandson Ryan Philpot and his wife Mel, Pearl walked 26 times around her beautiful garden and has made a donation of £100 to the hospice, which is now situated in Prittlewell opposite Priory Park and has been caring for patients since 9th March.

Pearl says, “I am really missing Fair Havens and all the staff who work there doing a wonderful job of caring for our patients. Although I desperately want to get back to work, I understand the importance of keeping everyone safe.

“When I saw Captain Tom doing his challenge at 100 years old, I thought to myself ‘I can do something, too.’ So we had the idea of 26 laps of my garden because the London Marathon – which raises hundreds of thousands of pounds for Havens Hospices – is 26 miles.”

Grandson Ryan is 46 from Westcliff. The actor, who owns his own theatre company, says, “Nan is incredible, just super-human. She has tremendous energy, wit and selfless generosity. She continues to give so much, both to Fair Havens and her family and friends. It would seem that her own advancing years are an irrelevance. To her, age is just a number.

“She lights up a room with her cheeky smile and aced the 26 laps of her garden. I wouldn’t rule out a full marathon next time!”

Visit or the charity’s social media channels @HavensHospices for ideas on how to support the charity.

To keep up to date with the latest developments at Havens Hospices, please visit

Contact us
Pearl at the start of her 'marathon'