STARS from Gavin and Stacey have shown support to a family who are walking 200 miles in memory of a loved one.
Matthew Horne (Gavin) and Stefan Rhodri (Dave Coaches) are among hundreds of people who have offered support to a family who are walking 200 miles from Essex to Marco’s Café on Barry Island.
The family hope to raise £100,000 for Pancreatic Cancer UK in memory of Pia Eaves – formerly Armelin – who died with the disease in September 2021, aged 54.
Mrs Eaves grew up in Barry and was the youngest of six children from a Welsh/Italian family which ran cafes in the town, including Terry’s Cafe on Holton Road.
She met her childhood sweetheart, Simon Eaves, when she was 17 and he was 16. The couple went on to study at Swansea University, graduating in 1989, with Mrs Eaves later working in international corporate banking, and her husband in private equity.
They were married on May 1, 1994 – Mrs Eaves’ birthday – and had two children: Rhiannon, now 21, and Emilia, 18.
In 2004 the family moved to Dubai, where Mrs Eaves became a personal trainer and fitness instructor – a job she continued when they returned to the UK in 2014.
Mr Eaves said: “Pia was an inspiration to many people, with her class members also becoming very dear friends.
“The majority of Pia’s wardrobe was leggings and fitness tops – she was rarely out of sporting clothes.
“I believe she was probably the top customer of Sweaty Betty following our return to the UK!”
Mrs Eaves was diagnosed with pancreatic cancer in October 2020.
Mr Eaves said despite it being “brutal” it did not stop his wife’s determination to confront it full on. She fought it with “great courage and dignity” with her mantras including:
“I can and I will”
“Bring it on”
During her illness, Mrs Eaves would cheer herself up by watching episodes of Gavin and Stacey and the programme became a firm favourite of the family.
Following her death, Mrs Eaves’ family wanted to do something positive in her memory.
They plan to walk 200 miles from Billericayin Essex (the home of Gavin and Smithy in the series) to Marco’s Cafe on Barry Island.
This 12 day trek will start on April 20 and finish on May 1 – Mrs Eaves’ birthday and wedding anniversary.
The team will include:
- Simon Eaves;
- Daughter Rhiannon and Emilia Eaves;
- Mr Eaves’ brother Kevin;
- Mrs Eaves’ best friend Donna Bliss;
- Mrs Eaves’ sister Paolo Matthews.
Friends and members of the public can join walkes on the way, with it hoped that a few local celebrities will also get involved.
Mr Eaves added that is it “horrendous” that his wife was taken away from the family and that he feels “lucky and privileged” to have shared his life with her.
“As a family, we think it is important that we can help and prevent other families from going through what we had to,” said Mr Eaves.
The family has raised more than half their £100,000 target so far. People can donate and stay updated via www.walkforpia.co.uk