CRY Heart of Durham Walk 2017

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Over 230 CRY supporters took part in the 8th CRY Durham Walk, newly rebranded as the CRY Heart of Durham Walk, to reflect the revised route which includes Durham’s historical City Centre. Thank you to everyone who attended and helped to make the day so special.

It was, as always, an emotional sight to see everyone coming together with family and friends, to walk in memory of a young person. The event, which, once again, included iconic sites such as Durham Cathedral and Castle, the River Wear, Durham Town Hall and Market Place – where CRY had an awareness stand and where the water station was situated – will have greatly helped to raise awareness of CRY’s ongoing work and help reduce the incidence of young sudden cardiac death.

The event was attended by CRY staff Rebecca Zouvani, Ben Robinson, Cara MacMillan and Lily Burke. Ben kindly drove the CRY team and equipment/literature from Surrey to Durham, and, thanks to the staff at Durham Amateur Rowing Club, we were able to set up on the Friday night, saving valuable time on the Saturday morning.

The day started dull, cloudy and chilly but the warm autumn sun shone through as walkers assembled at the Rowing Club and remained for most of the day.

Hot drinks and bacon sandwiches were laid on by Durham Amateur Rowing Club, before the walk for the participants. Throughout the morning, participants checked in at the Registration Desk, picked up CRY balloons and chatted amongst themselves, looking at the CRY displays and taking selfies using CRY’s selfie frames. As we waited for everyone to arrive, CRY staff and the photographer, Doug Moody, took details and photos for the local press. Thanks to our supporters, the event once again enjoyed some local press coverage before the event – including an article in the Durham Advertiser and the Northern Echo. We anticipate further coverage over the coming weeks.

The vast majority of people who took part – some for the first time, others for the second or third time, and some who take part year after year – did so in memory of a young person who they had tragically lost to young sudden cardiac death.

This year, participants were walking and volunteering in memory of and in support of Jack Balfour; Christopher George Britton; Andrew Callender; Stephen Carey; Katrina Christopher and Cheryl Christopher-Webber; Ashley Goodwin; Jessica Hamilton-Griffin; Dean Henderson; Damien Jewell; James and Leon Johnsen; Eleanor Keeler; Stephen Lamb; Alan Lumley; Stephanie Charlotte McLean; Levon Morland; Andy Oliver; Kevin Paterson; Alexandra Pope; Mike Scott; Alex Smith; Robert Daniel Smith; Callum Staple and David White.

Just before 11am, once everyone had checked in, we assembled outside the Rowing Club. CRY Fundraising Manager Rebecca Zouvani made a short introductory speech to thank the Rowing Club; product suppliers; Steve Percival, Jeff Morland and all the volunteers on the day for their help; and all the families for taking part – Jeff Morland welcomed everyone and gave some background about the walk and why everyone was there. He then introduced Steve Percival who talked about the new route and gave out some safety instructions, and, as has become customary, a few interesting and amusing facts about the figure 8, referring to the number of years that the Durham Walk has taken place. He also read out the names of the young people in whose memory people were walking or helping out, before officially starting the walk. Click here to watch Jeff and Steve’s speeches.

After all the photos had been taken, the walkers (with wheelchairs, buggies, toddlers and dogs) set off on the walk, picking up bottles of donated Northumbrian Water and chocolate bars on the way. They were able to pick up more water and donated Hippeas snacks along the route, at the CRY stand in Durham Market Place, manned by Kenny and Maralyn Bowen and Kellie Ellis. First aid cover was provided by North East Rescue and Medical Services (NERAMS) yet again this year.

Each walker was welcomed back to the Rowing Club by volunteers Marilyn Robinson and Jean Spence who were unable to take part with their families but wanted to help on the day. They were given a CRY medal and a feedback form and were encouraged to record their thoughts in the “Today’s Thoughts” book. Durham Amateur Rowing Club once again opened the bar and generously provided delicious paninis, curry and chips for CRY staff, volunteers and the walkers on their return.

We would love to see everyone again next year, and, with the new route, hope to see more people taking part. Next year’s event has been provisionally booked with Durham Amateur Rowing Club for Saturday 6th October, so please save the date. If you would like to be advised when a date has been confirmed for 2018, please email events@c-r-y.org.uk.

If you would like to upload your own write-up and photos, you can do so by clicking here.

As always, we never forget that most of the walkers who take part in the Durham Walk do so for very personal reasons – and all of us at CRY appreciate their tremendous effort and courage in taking part.

We are also very grateful to the following companies and organisations for their support of this event:

  • Durham Amateur Rowing Club for providing a great venue at a discount, year after year, and to Mark Bell and his team, Elliot and John, for making us so welcome and helping out with setting up and packing up.
  • Durham Safety Advisory Group and Asset Management Team for approving the route.
  • Durham University for allowing us the use of the cricket club’s car park.
  • Hippeas for donating Hippeas snacks.
  • Northumbrian Water for donating bottles of water.
  • Radflex for donating chocolate bars. This donation is secured each year by David (Joe) Crow.
  • Colin Wilkes and Durham Markets Company Ltd for providing CRY with a free awareness stand in Durham Market Place.
  • The Rothley Trust for covering the cost of producing the Heart of Durham Walk leaflet.

CRY would like to thank all the local organisers and volunteers for their help before, during and after the event: helping to organise the event and attending meetings; obtaining necessary permissions; carrying out a risk assessment; marking out the route; promoting the event; driving; pre-event telephone calls and emails; marshalling; assembling walkers’ packs; distributing walk leaflets; registering walkers; inflating balloons; manning a stand, handing out water, chocolate bars, medals and feedback forms; and clearing up.

We really couldn’t run an event like this, so far away from the CRY office, without the help of our dedicated volunteers; Dick Ainsley, Kenny and Maralyn Bowen; David (Joe) Crow; Kellie Ellis; Linda and Geoff Goodwin; Jim Henderson; David Jewell; Marie Miller; Aran Morland; Jeff Morland; Marianne Mortemore; Wendy Moss; Steve Percival; Janette Pollard; Ted and Emily Philo; Marilyn Robinson; Carole Robson; Jean Spence; Steve Wharrier; and Mark, Elliot and John from Durham Amateur Rowing Club.

Also, a big thank you to the participants who kindly agreed to assist with media for the walk. This resulted in some articles already appearing in the press.

Finally, special thanks, once again, must go to Jeff Morland and Steve Percival, the instigators of the walk, for helping to organise the event and making it all happen each year.

Photos by Doug Moody

These are a selection of photos from the day. All of the photos are available on our Heart of Durham Walk 2017 Flickr gallery.

If you participated in the walk and took photos which you would like to see included, please send them to events@c-r-y.org.uk with the subject “Heart of Durham Walk 2017 photos”.