Walk for Pia: The Gavin and Stacey themed walk from Billericay to Barry Island

Pia was aged just 54 when she sadly lost her life to pancreatic cancer in September 2021, 11 months after her diagnosis.

Now, Pia’s husband, Simon, and their two daughters Rhiannon and Emilia have been joined by family and friends in walking from Billericay, Essex, to Barry Island, South Wales, to honour her life, raise vital awareness and funds for the disease and celebrate her love of BBC Sitcom Gavin and Stacey!

Having departed on 20th April, they walked 200 miles over 12 days to complete their journey on 1st May (Pia’s birthday and wedding anniversary) at Marco’s Kiosk, which was run by Pia’s family throughout her teenage years and featured in the sitcom.

Pia’s story

“Where do we even begin to describe Pia. She had an unbelievable zest for life. She was a passionate, hilarious, intelligent, beautiful and extraordinary person who never took herself too seriously. There was not one person who met Pia who had a bad word to say about her. 

Pia was taken from us far too soon, and the world will forever be a darker place without her bright smile and cackle of a laugh guiding us through. She was one in a trillion and devastation at her loss doesn’t even describe the pain. 

Because of Pia’s upbringing, Gavin and Stacey became a vital part of our family time and we would spend hours watching it together. When she was unwell, Pia would turn to the show to cheer herself up, and the theme music to the programme was played at her funeral. 

Before Pia’s diagnosis, we did not know much about pancreatic cancer, and that is common with a lot of people.  

This walk is for our Mum, wife and friend who we know would be the first person to go out of their way to help anyone. We want to honour her by trying to help other families and prevent the pain we, and many others, are going through by increasing awareness of the disease and raising vital funds to improve early detection of pancreatic cancer as well improving treatment. We are walking so that we can limit the number of other families that have to go through this.” – Simon, Pia’s husband

Pia and Simon

The walk

Pia’s family and the team walked between 3 and 9 hours each day, with a route marked by pubs, village halls, landmarks and museums. You can check out the full details of their route on their website.

Joined by friends, supporters, and even visitors from Switzerland and Italy, they’ve raised over £147,000 so far, caught the media’s attention and even received support from members of the cast via recorded messages from Ruth Jones, who plays Ness, Mathew Horne (Gavin) and Steffan Rhodri (Dave Coaches). 

In her message of support, Ruth Jones said: “It’s an incredible thing that these people are doing and let’s be honest, in this day and age, we need incredible people to do incredible things. It’s all about being kind.”

Rhiannon, one of Pia’s two daughters, said “I think Mum would be so, so proud of us for doing this. She’d probably say that we were crazy, but she’d be overwhelmed with how much love there is here for her.”

Emilia added: “She’d probably say right, now let’s do another 100 miles.’ That was always her way.”

The team at the Pancreatic Cancer UK office before setting off

What comes next

“We want to say the biggest thank you to all our friends and family who joined us for certain days of the walk. This walk has helped to us get through and to remember her. Having the support of all of you gives us motivation to keep going, and reminds us constantly of how much love people will always have for our amazing mum and wife. 

We’re so grateful to everyone who donated. This isn’t just a one-off, we hope to get to Parliament and get the debate going into more money for pancreatic cancer.”

Pia, Simon, Rhiannon and Emilia