Fundraising superhero Eunice Salmon is hard at work, training for the MoonWalk London 2018 – having taken part in the event every year since its inception, 21 years ago.

Organised by charity Walk the Walk, which supports Breast Cancer Now, the event is a midnight marathon walk through the capital, and the participants wear decorated bras to highlight the cause.

Eunice, from Purton, has helped raise tens of thousands of pounds over the years – and continues to keep walking, running and raising money for breast cancer charities.

She said she loved walking: “It’s the fresh air, the changing views. It’s all about mindfulness and the natural environment. You see the seasons and weather changing, the flowers, the clouds – it takes you away.

“If you join a walking group, you meet all sorts of people you would never normally meet. I met a lot of nurses and hospital staff, and got to appreciate different people and what we have got in common, especially when they start telling their story and you see how many are affected by breast cancer.”

Now 58, Eunice was a farmer’s daughter. She was born in the Lancashire countryside between Liverpool and Manchester, and despite her love of walking admits she did not show early promise in sport. “I hated sport at school, and I was no good at it,” she recalls.

She went to Glasgow University to study hotel and catering management, then worked for Debenham’s, and later the motorway services, Happy Eater, where she oversaw training in catering. She lived in Cambridge with husband Robert, but they moved to Swindon in 1992. When Eunice was approaching her 40th birthday, she decided she wanted to run a marathon.

“At first I thought that was too big a challenge. I don’t know how I saw it, but I got involved in fund-raising for Breakthrough (Breast Cancer Research), and saw people were going to walk rather than run the 26 miles of the London Marathon to raise money, so I thought I would do that.”

The event was pioneered by Nina Barough, who decided it would be fun to power walk the New York City Marathon in a decorated bra to raise money for a good cause. At the time, Nina had no experience of fundraising, and nor did she know anyone who had been affected by breast cancer.

Only two months later, however, Nina herself was diagnosed with breast cancer. She went through a programme of treatment, and a team of friends decided to power walk the 1997 London Marathon to support her. It was a huge success, raising more than £25,000. Three days after the marathon the first Walk the Walk auction sold off their decorated bras – which had been designed by fashion luminaries such as Paul Smith and Mary Quant. The following year, a team began their power walking marathon in London at midnight, and the MoonWalk was born.

Eunice has taken part in the event every single year – and recalls training for her first event. “I had small children at the time and my husband was often working way. I would take them to mum’s, and say I was going for a walk,” she said.

“I had breast lumps myself when I was 18 – it was terrifying. I went to hospital and had a mammogram. Fortunately, it was negative.

“I had a school reunion when I was coming up to my 40th birthday, and I found out that someone I knew from school had died of breast cancer, leaving a four-year-old and a two-year-old. And I thought, there but for the grace of God go I. I couldn’t believe it. That was my motivation. I have never met her children, but I did it for them, thinking of them.”

The first walk was on a small scale, with about 600 people.

“We met in a pub in north London. My husband took me and dropped me off. Nobody had any experience of it, but I got chatting to a woman in the pub and we ended up walking it together. We had a lot in common, similar life experiences – but we split up at Trafalgar Square and I’ve never seen her since.”

The following year, Eunice got a team of walkers together for the event. She was surprised to find 35 people turning up for the first training meeting.

“I thought, ‘I can’t train people – I’ve only done it once!’ But they came to my house one night, 35 people in my lounge. Some had to sit on the stairs.”

The team was named Swindon Twin Peaks and, once a week, they met to walk together and build up speed. Every year, the team grew and grew, until one year, Eunice was organising four 53-seater coaches to take everyone to London.

“It was like a school trip and I had to make sure we had everyone’s name and know who was staying in London.”

They had special bras autographed by local celebrities Melinda Messenger and Billie Piper, which were auctioned, and organised huge fund-raising breakfasts. Altogether, over the years, the team raised more than £190,000.

Although Eunice, who now has two grown-up children and works for Swindon Borough Council, is not involved in organising anymore, she does still take part in the London MoonWalk every year.

She also helps organise the Mad March Hare event in Swindon – in memory of her friend Irene Hare, who died of secondary breast cancer – to raise funds for Breast Cancer Now.

The first Mad March Hare was in 2007, a 5km walk, jog or run around Lydiard Park, and a 10km version that extends into the surrounding residential area. The event is designed to be fun and inclusive.

“This is something local and small,” Eunice said. “We have people pushing buggies, or wheelchairs, people walking with their dogs. Anybody can do 5km – it’s the length of a shopping trip! Once you’ve done that, why not go on to the MoonWalk?”

Additionally, seeking a new challenge, Eunice has moved on to running. She did two half marathons last year, in Bath and Swindon.

The MoonWalk London takes place on May 12. For more information, visit

To take part in Mad March Hare in Swindon on Sunday March 25, visit