Intrepid volunteers overcame temperatures of more than 1,200 degrees last night as they completed a charity fire walk.

The annual event, held at the Watermill Hotel, Bourne End, saw 69 people put mind over matter and walk bare foot over a fierce 20 foot track of hot coals.

Together the plucky volunteers raised more than £7,000 for the Peace Hospice, Watford, and the St Francis Hospice, Berkhamsted.

Event organiser Maggie Grand said: “It was a fantastic evening and a great atmosphere. “There were a lot of nervous people beforehand who simply didn’t know what to expect. But we were delighted that they all managed to complete the walk.”

The Peace Hospice alone, she added, requires at least £3.5million per year to run and develop its services.

One of the walkers, Wheathampsted woman Diana Rainback, had a special reason for taking part – her son 36-year-old son Ali.

The former ski-instructor was treated at St Francis before losing his battle with a brain tumour earlier this year.

She said: “I’m actually terrified of fire so it was a real challenge for me. But it really didn’t hurt at all. It was a really amazing experience.”

Mrs Rainback and her family, who called themselves Team Rainback, have so far collected more than £40,000 towards a £100,000 fundraising target – money that will fund one care bed for a year.

Other events the family have planned include a night-time ski event, and a bike ride from Wheathampsted to Courcheval in France where Ali ran a ski school.

Another walker, Peace Hospice worker Corrina Welsh, said: “I looked at the fire and it was quite scary waiting for my turn, but when it came I was so charged and focused. “My body felt the heat but I was really determined. It was complete elation when I finished.”

For more photos of this year’s event please visit