11th Annual CRY Heart of London Bridges Walk 2017

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On Sunday 9th July 1,423 walkers assembled in London’s Potters Fields Park for CRY’s annual Heart of London Bridges Walk.

A warm and sunny morning, this was the 11th year of CRY’s flagship event and the 2nd year of a new start venue of Potters Fields Park, on the banks of the Thames and providing a great opportunity to raise awareness of CRY with the public passing by.

From 8am, members of the CRY team, as well as an army of wonderful and enthusiastic volunteers, arrived at the start venue to set up the marquees, press tent and bold CRY signage as well as being on hand to meet and greet the walkers.

As in all previous years, many of the families who had signed up for CRY’s flagship event were (with the help of the CRY Press Team and our official photographer) keen to make contact with their local media to “tell their story” in a bid to help raise awareness of CRY and the work we do.

As ever, it was one of the most humbling events in CRY’s busy calendar of raising funds and awareness.

Set against the iconic backdrop of Tower Bridge, it was incredibly moving to be with so many people preparing to walk in memory of a friend or family member. It was particularly poignant to be able to provide an opportunity for many longstanding CRY supporters to meet up with others who had been similarly affected by young sudden cardiac death – some of whom had been travelling to London to take part in the event since its launch in 2007.

The slightly revised route was to take the walkers across six London bridges and passing many of the city’s most famous landmarks (images of which kept popping up on social media throughout the day!)

Walkers came in groups – large and small – whilst others chose to walk on their own or as a couple.

Ahead of a minute’s silence, CRY Patron, stage actor and Hollywood star, Vincent Regan, addressed the crowd before leading the Walk, alongside The Fell family (Rich, Donna and daughter Jasmine) from his native Yorkshire and the Humber.

“Every week in the UK, 12 young people (aged 14-35) die suddenly from undiagnosed heart conditions. I know from a personal perspective the pain and devastation this can cause, having been approached by a family who live close to my home in the North East, following the tragic loss of their son Josh, aged just 15.

“I was shocked as Josh’s parents, Rich and Donna Fell, told me of the scale of young sudden cardiac death. I was therefore honoured when they asked if I would support them in raising funds and awareness to help the charity, Cardiac Risk in the Young (CRY) in the work it is doing to detect, prevent and protect young people dying needlessly from undiagnosed cardiac conditions.”

Dr Cox added: “This is CRY’s most important event of the year which is dedicated to all the young people who have died suddenly from cardiac conditions. The hundreds of families and friends who are walking together through the streets of London are creating a huge amount of awareness of young sudden cardiac death and the work CRY is doing to stop these tragedies.

CRY families go to incredible lengths to reach out to the public and make sure everyone knows about screening, research and everything CRY is doing to prevent young sudden cardiac deaths – and it’s so powerful when members of the public stop to ask our walkers ‘what it’s all about’ and ‘what can we do to help’. I even heard of some walkers having £20 notes pressed into their hands on the train journey into London, by fellow passengers who had been so moved by their experience.

“It is a unique opportunity for families to come together, to walk in memory of the person they loved, where they can feel safe in the knowledge they are not alone. I would like to thank everyone for joining us on July 9th and being part of this special day.

To date, over £650,000 has been raised by this event alone – so let’s keep on stepping up to this annual challenge and walk together to stop young sudden cardiac death.

More thank yous!

Water and donated Eat Natural cereal bars and Hippeas snacks were handed out at the start of the walk and at the Millennium Bridge water station. The event ended, once again, at the beautiful Hay’s Galleria, near London Bridge, where 2017 CRY heroes’ medals and a refreshing fruity drink were distributed. Throughout the afternoon, CRY merchandise was available to purchase and many participants chose to record their feelings about the day in the “Thoughts Book”.

To conclude the event, Alison Cox MBE, CRY Founder, gave a brief speech which was followed by two short performances by Rock Choir, Chigwell, Forest Gate, Cheshunt, Harlow and Bishop’s Stortford Branch which provided a warm welcome back for the walkers.

We would like to say thank you to CRY Patron, Vincent Regan, for his support of this event and to all of our dedicated volunteers who helped out both on the day and behind the scenes.

International opera singer and CRY Patron, Kathryn Harries, who usually leads the walk was, unfortunately, unable to attend but sent her best wishes to everyone. Thanks Kathryn!

Thank you also to various organisations for their help, advice and support. Without them, we could not run this event.

All money raised from this event will go towards CRY’s core funding initiatives.

All of the photos from the event can be viewed here.

If you would like to upload your own write up about the day you can do so via our website here.

Volunteers

Martin  Appleby, Hanna Barclay, Jenny Bergman, James Boag, Jenny Boag, Lucy Bowyer, Mariana Chitic, Nia Crockford, Eloise Crowson, Kerry Ferne, Ann Fitzgerald, Barbara Holland, Jim Holland, Kelvin Holt, David Jewell, Vipul Kaila, Julie Lockton, Koula Louki, Tina MacMillan, Elizabeth Merritt, Helen Merritt, Wendy Moss, Tim Munyanyi, Harriet Pearce Willis, Jo Pickard, Janette Pollard, Lesley Pope, Roger Pope, Ramila Raval, Becci Robinson, Pete Robinson, Sue Robinson, Gemma Sanford, James Slade, Laurie Taylor, Linda Taylor, Cathy and Mia Thurlow, Karthi Velayutham, Marion Wilson, Matt Wilson, Julia Woodrow, Gerry Wright and Sarah Wright.

Sponsors

Refreshment sponsors:

Eat Natural

Hippeas (in memory of Gavin Hughes)

Corporate Sponsors:

UNUM
Chubb Insurance Company of Europe
ServiceMaster Clean (in memory of Claire Dee Shapland)

Venue Sponsor:

London Bridge City

Other organisations and individuals that supported and helped with the organisation of this event.

JD’s Food Group

Just Smile

Richard Short, Event Compere

As always, the walk was in memory of all the young people who have died suddenly. This year, participants were walking in memory of the following named individuals (names are as stated on walkers’ back signs and there may be some repetition):

Charlotte Adams, Carl Arthur, Simon Askew , Jack Atkinson, Stuart Attridge, Paul Baker, Tom Elton Barrett, Richard Beaumont, Craig Beck, Ben Birch, Jordan Birchall, Lesley Boden, Gemma Bousfield, Danny Brown, Jordan Burndred, Yasmin Caldera, Alex Camilleri, Justin Carman, Alexander Chiles, Philippa Chowne, Katrina Christopher, Cheryl Christopher-Webber, Tom Clabburn , James Colman, Andrew and Ian Cooper, Graham Courtney, Charlie Craig, Jonathan Crowhurst, Simon Cullum, Ben Daniels, Paul Davies, Claire Dee-Shapland, Ilan Dekel, Matthew Dewhirst, Aaron Dixon, Adam Donnelly, Adam Drawbridge, Emily Rose Dunn, Guy Evans, Harry Faulkner, Leanne Faulkner, Conor Feeney, Josh Fell, Therese Field, Anthony Fitzgerald, Elise Fitzpatrick, Andy Forbes, Tanya Forder-White, Jay Futter, Rebecca Gapes, Stephen Gately, Rochelle Grogan, Matthew Hadfield, Shamil Hamid, David and James (Jimmy) Hamilton, Nial Hamilton, Matthew Harris, Jennifer Hawes, Ed Hicks, Jonathan Hooper, Samuel Hovhannisyan, Fay Howell, Dylan Howells, Liana Hoyland, Alex Hubbard, Emma Hurlbut, Daniel Hurley, John Jenkins, Ethan Jones, Nathasha Kay, Shona Kennedy, Rachael Kiely-Cohen, Amy Kirkby, Judith Krish, Jannik Harvey Lam, Adam and Jenny Lambert, Kris Ledgard, Miriam Lee, Alan Lumley, Jack Maddams, Marie Manhire-Clark, Balinder Mann, James Markham, Paul McCann, Ellie McKittrick, Steph McLean, Liam Meadows, Richard Merriman, Joseph Merritt, Zaid Mian, Rosie Mitchell, George Morgan, Whitney Morris, Paul Mulford, Pardeep Nagra, Juma Ngqobowana, Thomas Padmore, Robert Palmer, Paul Parker, Paul Payne, Connor Pearce, Joe Pearce Willis, Hannah Pointing, Gary Pope, Ben Powell, Craig Powell, Claire Prosser, Bobby Puri, Elizabeth Ransom, Ben Rendall, Sabrina Roddy, Sian Roger (Griffin), Adam Rowbottom, Russell Salter, Ricki Savage, Niel Schuyleman, Richard Shaw, Paul Sheridan, Sarah Simpson, Aashi Sinha, Nick Sketchley, Hannah Stanton, Natalie Stewart, David Stiller, Paul Sykes, Claire Taylor, Ryan Terry, Gareth Thomas, Nicholas Thomas, Oliver Thompson, Scott and Michael Thurlow, Ashley Trigg, Isabelle Tudisca, Neil Walden, Alex Watley, Ben Webster, Lily Webster, Sally Wells, Suzie Williams, Jemima Wilson, David Wood, Robert Worboys.