On 25 June 2023 we were so pleased to gather once again in London for the 17th annual CRY Heart of London Bridges Walk. Supporters began arriving in Southwark Park from 9am and gathered around the bandstand, connected with other participants and CRY staff, and began uploading messages and photos to our message wall.
A total of 869 supporters joined us on the day, with 79 walking in their local areas.
Once supporters had arrived, we got started with speeches from CRY Cardiologist Professor Sanjay Sharma and CRY CEO Dr Steven Cox. Professor Sharma began by introducing the day, and thanking those who joined us;
“Today we are going to be celebrating and cherishing the lives of late loved ones who passed away during the pinnacle of their life years and prematurely. I think our message wall here is just a reminder of the sort of people that we have lost; spouses, partners, children, siblings, friends; and these losses have transformed your lives.”
“Some of you are getting back on track, and some of your lives have taken a different trajectory; but instead of being immersed in a sense of infinite grief and despair, many of you have dug in to the core of your strength to do something very altruistic and very important, and that is to support our charity Cardiac Risk in the Young. Many of you have raised money to demonstrate awareness of this catastrophe, and to do something about preventing such deaths. […] Today we join hands and take some very positive strides in making a difference to ensure that other families do not have to endure the same fate as yours.”
Next to speak was CRY CEO Dr Steven Cox who began by thanking everyone who helped make the day possible, from participants to staff, volunteers and food vendors; before taking a moment of remembrance and thanks to CRY Patron Kathryn Harries for her legacy of work with CRY, “The CRY Heart of London Bridges Walk has been our flagship event since 2007, having been established by CRY Patron Kathryn Harries, working with the CRY Team. I’d like to take a moment to remember Kathryn and acknowledge everything she did for CRY. She has left an incredible legacy in the creation of this important event and will be missed by all who knew her.”
“For those of you joining us for the first time we hope you can experience what how it feels to be part of a community that understands. Thank you for coming today to support this event, and to be a part of a community of support for one another.”
Dr Cox continued, thanking Professor Sanjay Sharma, Professor Michael Papadakis and Dr Mary Sheppard for their continuing support and commitment to CRY through their work and research. It was special to have the whole team at Southwark Park this year, each taking part with their families. Dr Cox concluded by highlighting the importance of the event, CRY’s research, and what that means for our understanding of the cause of young sudden death.
“When CRY was founded, people questioned if something should be done. There is no longer a question of if, but what and when. This progress has only happened because of all the families like yourselves who have given so much to help others; by talking about what has happened, by raising funds, and by supporting screening and research. Thank you for your support and joining us today at our most important event to bring families together from all over the country.”
After the speeches a minute’s silence was held, then at 11am it was time for the walk to begin. Walkers set off from Southwark Park towards the Thames on our 6.5 mile route, passing many of London’s iconic landmarks along the way. It is always incredibly powerful to see so many CRY supporters in their Bridges Walk t-shirts walking through some of the busiest areas of London, raising important awareness of CRY and young sudden cardiac death. The route included walking by landmarks such as; Tower Bridge, the Tower of London, The Gherkin, St Paul’s Cathedral, Shakespeare’s Globe, and The Shard with many photo opportunities along the way.
After making their way through the heart of London, walkers headed back towards Southwark Park for the CRY Family Picnic from around 1pm. There was delicious food and drink waiting as people arrived from; Bratwurst Bros, Chocolate Balloons, Smokin’ Bean Coffee Truck, Deuce Hospitality Ltd – West African Street Food, Howe & Co Fish & Chips and Eat Argentina.
It was a very hot day, so families relaxed on tables under the trees, connecting with each other and listening to wonderful jazz music performed by Stephen Pierre and a collective of Jazz Musicians from Unity Music Arts Team. There were two musical performances throughout the afternoon from the group, alongside a card-making workshop run by Grusha Tiwari, using stamps of the artist’s own designs, inks and crayons. We are so grateful to both the performers and Grusha and her team for donating their time to CRY.
The support tent was open throughout the day, with supporters writing messages and memories on their back signs from the walk and hanging them in the tent. These message cards will later be moved and displayed in the CRY office.
The CRY Heart of London Bridges Walk is always an emotional day. It was so special for everyone to gather together as always. Thank you to all of our supporters who took part, whether you completed your My Walk For CRY or came to the main event in London.
Thank you to our fantastic team of volunteers as well. Events like this are only possible because of your help! CRY’s volunteers were: Falak Ali; Najma Saidahmed; Lorna Benham; Callum Carruthers; Krizstina Cserhalmi; Julie Essex; Michael Essex; Lianne Frost;Caroline Grd; Peter Gard; Gregory Hadjinicolaou; Barbara Holland; Jim Holland; Kelvin Holt; Jo Hudson; Nick Hudson; David Jewell; Victoria Joy; Liz Kerwood; martin Kerwood; David Lee; Julie Lockton; Alexandra MacLeod; Freya Mollerstrom-Frost; Ayda Mollestrom-Frost; Sasha Pasimisina; Dee Ran; Sue Robinson; Peter Robinson; Giles Semper; Tony Sizer; Jos Sizer; James Slade; Alison Stevens; Sophie Thomas; Vicky Walker; Ari Walker; Tyrone Walker; Toby Ward; Tim Ward; Lucy Wasdell-Bowyer; Fi Wasdell-Bowyer; Ash Wasdell-Lane; Livvy Welch; Matt Wilson; Marion Wilson; Aranja Kugathas; Joanne Lister.
Thank you to our event sponsors: ServiceMaster Clean; Chubb; Oppo Brothers Ice Cream; and Saputo Dairy UK.
You can see more photos from the day in our Flickr album here: https://www.flickr.com/photos/cardiacriskintheyoung/albums