There are 12 young sudden cardiac deaths in the UK every week. It’s why the number 12 is such an important figure to CRY and everyone who supports us. And as CRY staff, volunteers and 1,375 walkers gathered together in London on June 24th, we held our 12th annual CRY Heart of London Bridges Walk.
The day started early for CRY staff members and our eager volunteers, with a team arriving at Potters Field Park at 8am to set up marquees, assemble the registration tent, and ensure the venue was ready. As everything took shape, walkers started filling up Potters Field Park in their white CRY t-shirts. It was a touching spectacle seeing so many people gathered in one place to walk in memory of someone and support CRY, surrounded by the stunning backdrop of Tower Bridge.
CRY Patron Kathryn Harries first had the idea for a bridges walk years ago, and she came along to offer her support again.
“I think it’s fantastic that an idea I had when I met the people at CRY back in 2006 turned into this annual event, which is a flagship event for this most magnificent charity,” Kathryn said to open her speech before the walk began. “I think you’re all remarkable. I think you’re incredibly brave, seriously courageous people, and it’s a privilege to be involved with it.”
After Kathryn’s speech, CRY Chief Executive Dr Steven Cox spoke about how far the event has come and important changes that will help CRY’s fight against young sudden cardiac death:
“It is incredible how this event has changed and how it has developed over the years to now be the most important event in our year, to bring together families from all over the country. In 2007, when we held our first walk, CRY was in a very different position to where we are now. Back then, most people would not have been aware that young people could die suddenly of heart conditions. Now, when I talk to people about what I do, they’re almost always aware of young sudden deaths. They’ve heard about the stories, they’ve heard about your experiences. Often they will even tell me that they’ve heard about CRY’s screening programme.
“On Monday of this week we reached a major milestone as the World Health Organization (WHO) acknowledged that when a young person dies of SADS, as well as all the other conditions, this should be recognised by official statistics and the policy makers. This change has only been possible because of the research that you are helping us to publish, showing what needs to be done and why it is so important. And this announcement from the WHO coincides with the 100th MP signing up to support a national strategy to prevent young sudden cardiac deaths, and at the same time they are saying they are going to review the cardiac screening policy in the UK,” Dr Cox said to a round of applause.
Dr Cox also mentioned that families would often go without support after a tragedy. Now, a referral to a specialist cardiologist is the norm, which helps families find clarity about happened to their loved one and what testing they may need to undergo themselves.
“There are many young people alive today because of what you are doing,” Dr Cox added. “None of these changes would have happened without the incredible support we receive from CRY families, from your support all over the country.”
Following the speeches and a minute’s silence, walkers made their way across the green and set off at 11am. The main route was approximately seven miles, while the shorter, wheel-chair friendly route was 2.5 miles. The walk finished at Hay’s Galleria where CRY Founder Alison Cox MBE gave her speech and the Rock Choir filled the area with music to draw in everyone’s attention, both walkers and passers-by.
The walk wasn’t easy in the heat, and we are so grateful to everyone who made the journey to London to take part in the event, raising so much money to support CRY and spread awareness across the heart of England’s capital.
It’s always an emotional day, but it was amazing to see everyone come together and hear from our supporters after the walk and on social media. With comments like “such an inspiring day”, “great day for a fantastic cause, our first Heart of London Bridges Walk but most definitely not our last”, and “events like these make us see we are not alone,” it’s clear just how valuable this annual event is.
There’s no way this day could happen, let alone be such a success, without the stellar efforts of our volunteers. Thank you for all you did on the day!
Tony Beadle, Lynne Beadle, James Boag, Jenny Boag, Lucy Bowyer, Krisztina Cserhalmi, Simone Davis, Lorraine Dunbar, Antonia Fallows, Francesca Fallows, Kerry Ferne, Suzanne Fletcher, Laura Frost, Lianne Frost, Ayda Frost, Freja Frost, Caroline Gard, Peter Gard, Shelagh Green, Sheila Hammond, Wendy Harrington, Barbara Holland, Jim Holland, Kelvin Holt, David Jewell, Gerry Johnston, Pat Jones, Julie Lockton, Alexandra MacLeod, Remy Malvy, Elizabeth Merritt, Helen Merritt, Wendy Moss, Tim Munyanyi, Anna Murphy, Grant Nivett, Jo Pickard, Joanne Quirk, Ramila Raval, Elizabeth Rigney, Pete Robinson, Sue Robinson, Maureen Ross, Sara Sheridan, Joseph Smith and Matt Wilson.
We would also like to thank all of our sponsors for their support:
Chubb, UNUM, ServiceMaster, Hippeas, Eat Natural, JDs Food Group and London Bridge City.
All of the photos from the event can be viewed on our Flickr page.
Our supporters walked in memory of:
Charlotte Adams, Tom Aynsley, Andy Barnes, Craig Beck, Philip Bergman, Ben Birch, Jack Boulton, David Bramwell, Wesley Bray, David Brown, Connor Brown, Yasmin Caldera, Alexander Camilleri, Matt Carscadden, Andrew Carter, Steven Chalk, Guy Champney, Luke Chapman, Philippa Chowne, Trina and Cheryl Christopher-Webbber, Tom Clabburn, Vanessa Cole, James Colman, Micky Connolly, Graham Courtney, Stuart Coutts, Freya Cox, Matt Cragg, Charlie Craig, Megan Crowe, Jonathan Crowhurst, Simon Cullum, Steve Cummings, Claire Dee-Shapland, Shawnton DeFour, Matthew Dewhirst, Adam Donnelly, Adam Drawbridge, Michael Drew, Emily Dunn, Rory Embling, Guy Evans, Harry Faulkner, Jeremy Feakes, Conor James Feeney, Therese Field, Anthony Fitzgerald, Matthew Fleming, Andy Forbes, Stephen Gately, Sian Griffin, Kayleigh Griffiths, Rochelle Grogan, Matt Hadfield, Shamil Hamid, David and Jimmy Hamilton, Ben Hammond, Megan Harding-Jones, Ian Hoggarth, Philip Holland, Jonathan Hooper, Samuel Hovhannisyan, Liana Hoyland, Alex Hubbard, Emma Hurlbut, William Johnson, Prashant Joshi, Stephen Joyce, Tomio Kawabata, Natasha Kay, Jannik Lam, Eleanor Keeler, Carli Lansley, Miriam Lee, Rachael Lord, Alan Lumley, Connor Mackness, Jack Maddams, Marie Manhire-Clark, Balinder Mann, Gary Martin, Pete McAvoy, James McGowan, Steph McLean, Liam Meadows, Luke Meekings, Joseph Merritt, George Morgan, Paul Mulford, Elizabeth Nee, Robert Palmer, Ceri Palmer Nee Howells, Robert Palmer, Paul Parker, Jenni and David Paul, Connor Pearce, James Pedersen, Duncan Phillips, James Phillips, Craig Powell, Alden Price, Claire Prosser, Bobbi Puri, Benjamin Rendall, Evan Robertson, Joe Robins, Sabrina Roddy, Sian Roger, Adam Rowbottom, Jemma Rozier, Ricki Savage, Mair Schmeinck, Neil Schuyleman, Mike Scott, Paul Sheridan, Jack Sheriff, Evan Shonfield, Gregg Shoults, Sukhwinder Singh-Digpal, Aashi Sinha, Nick Sketchley, Hannah Stanton, Ben Steele, Paul Sykes, Claire Taylor, Guy Thomas, Nicholas Thomas, Mark Thomas, Oliver Thompson, Scott and Michael Thurlow, Joe Tiplady, Neil Walden, Benjamin Walker, Thomas Wall, Ian Watt, Melissa Watts, Lily Webster, Sally Wells, Chris Wheeler, Emlyn Wibberley, Suzanne Williams, Paul Wills, Jemima Wilson, Seth Woolley, and Robert Worboys.