CRY Heart of London Bridges Walk Write-Up 2019
For its 13th year, the CRY Heart of London Bridges Walk found a new home. The event started and finished at Southwark Park, as 1,574 walkers gathered together for the walk and the first CRY Family Picnic.
Before walkers departed at 11am, CRY Patron Kathryn Harries and CRY Chief Executive Dr Steven Cox gave speeches to the mass of supporters that had congregated around the bandstand in the middle of the park.
“Welcome to this lovely new venue,” Kathryn said to begin. “It’s lovely to see so many of you here, and I just want to congratulate all of you and all the CRY team for turning a little idea back in 2006 into this amazing annual event.
“I’m not going to try to lead this year because you’re all way faster than I am now I’m old,” Kathryn joked. “Everybody overtook me in the first stride [last year], so I shall be amongst you and I just want to commend you all for having the courage and the fortitude to be here together. I hope you all find support in each other’s experiences and enjoy the walk. Thank you very much indeed.”
CRY Chief Executive Dr Steven Cox spoke next, again thanking our supporters for attending and all they do to fundraise and spread awareness.
“This is our most important event of the year, to bring together your family, friends, to raise awareness of Cardiac Risk in the Young and to remember those who are no longer with us,” Steve said. “We expect there to be about 1,500 walkers here today, walking in memory of 150 young people…
“There is no other day when there will be so many people who you will be with who can understand what you have been through,” Steve said to finish. “So many families who, like you, want to help save young lives. Thank you for coming today and being part of this special event.”
Then, after a minute’s silence, the walkers set off.
Our new 5.5 mile route wound its way past many iconic London sites, giving walkers the opportunity to see London from a different perspective. The walkers passed through the cobbled streets of Shad Thames and Butlers Wharf, home to many converted shipping containers and warehouses dating back to the 1800s. Other famous landmarks such as Tower Bridge, The Gherkin, The Shard, St Paul’s Cathedral, the Globe Theatre, HMS Belfast and the Tower of London could be seen from various points along the route, providing perfect opportunities for photographs. Walkers collected medals upon their return as they headed into Southwark Park to rest and connect with others.
Shortly after most of our walkers had returned, CRY Founder Alison Cox spoke. “Hearing how others manage can provoke a new way forward,” Alison said when sharing how valuable taking part in the walk can be. “Talking is liberating, and sharing such sadness with those who totally understand can be a relief…
“Perhaps on your way home you will reflect on your experiences today,” Alison added. “We hope that you will feel uplifted with what you have seen and what you have heard. Please do feed back, please do let us know. We are dedicated to reducing your suffering – it matters to CRY.”
The setting of Southwark Park gave the event a far more communal atmosphere following the walk. Plenty of food was on offer, along with a handful of games to enjoy such as pop-up tennis, football, pat-ball, and street golf provided by Sam Bodmer from Southwark Council Sports Team and Charlie Baldwin from Everyone Active. We would like to thank them for giving up their time to coordinate this on the day. Thank you also to Yummy and Beyond, Scoff ‘N’ Nosh, Smokin’ Bean Coffee Truck, Paddy’s, and Chocolate Balloons for their delicious food and drinks.
As the picnic got underway, Southwark Park was filled with the music of three terrific choirs. Thank you to the South London Rock Choir, Note-Orious from East Dulwich, and Nunhead Community Choir for all giving wonderful performances, adding more energy to the venue through the afternoon.
Touching displays were also included for walkers to share photos and messages to remember those that have died suddenly. Walkers were able to scan the QR codes on their Bridges Walk t-shirts to post photos and captions onto a big screen, while a smaller message board was also available for people to share notes in memory of those they were walking for.
The CRY Heart of London Bridges Walk is always an emotional day, and it’s a special event for everyone involved. Thank you to all of our supporters for coming, and to all of our fantastic volunteers for helping the day go so well. Events like this would not be possible without you!
Thank you to all of our sponsors for their support: Shore, Unum, ServiceMaster Clean, Emily Crisps, Chubb, Dairy Crest and Eat Natural.
Finally, thank you to the community of Southwark for being so welcoming to CRY, as we look to establish Southwark Park as the new home of this event. If you would like to be involved in any way next year, please email firstname.lastname@example.org.
All of the photos from the day can be viewed on CRY’s Flickr page.