THE family and friends of a much-loved campaigner and legendary businessman took on a 20-mile trek across Southend to raise cash for the hospice that cared for him. 

Garry Lowen, described as “one of the most passionate advocates for Southend”, passed away in April following a battle with life-limiting illness Motor Neurone Disease. 

The committed charity worker, who was granted the Freedom of Southend earlier this year, owned the Gleneagles Guest House in Clifftown Parade, with his wife Penny, 61.

The 63-year-old spent the last ten days of his life at Fair Haven’s Hospice, on Priory Crescent, with his family insisting there was always a party atmosphere in his room and praising the hospice for the care he received. 

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In a bid to give back, his family and friends - including his children and grandchildren - took on a huge walking challenge on Saturday to raise cash for the hospice. 

Penny said: “It’s been amazing, it was such an amazing day. 

“I know Garry was looking out for us. He certainly kept the rain away. We raised a lot of money for Fair Havens. People were so generous. 

“As we walked along, we had fundraising buckets and so many people came over to put money in - even when they didn’t have a lot to spare, they wanted to support us and the hospice. We can’t thank everyone enough.”

The walk started at Southend Rugby Football Club, the scene of many happy memories for Garry, at 8am. 

The group then walked into Leigh, going past significant locations in Garry’s life, including places he had lived and where he went to school. 

The fundraiser then saw the group walk the length of the pier and back, and then past Gleneagles Guest House and Fair Havens, before finishing back at the rugby club. 

Garry was well-known in the community having spent his entire life dedicating himself to his beloved Southend and supported and campaigned on behalf of an endless list of non-profit organisations in the city.

During his time as chairman of both the Southend Carnival Association and successive mayoral charity committees, he raised thousands for good causes.

The stalwart was also a member of the Southend Rotary Club and a long-standing supporter of the Southend Conservatives.

Almost £2,500 has been raised through and online fundraising page, with more donated during Saturday’s walk.